How to build successful Customer communities for SaaS products

Remember that a well-cultivated community is a valuable asset that can set your SaaS product apart in a crowded market. Cutting-edge support that’s easily accessible to your users will eventually lead to better retention and experience.
Priyanshu Anand
September 14, 2023

How to build successful Customer communities for SaaS products

Remember that a well-cultivated community is a valuable asset that can set your SaaS product apart in a crowded market. Cutting-edge support that’s easily accessible to your users will eventually lead to better retention and experience.
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Priyanshu Anand
September 14, 2023

In today's competitive SaaS landscape, building and maintaining successful customer communities is crucial for long-term success. These communities serve as a valuable resource for customers, fostering engagement, satisfaction, and brand loyalty. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the key steps to create and nurture thriving customer communities for your SaaS product, spanning the realms of strategy, platform selection, engagement, and growth.

Community's Purpose and Business Objectives

Before diving into building a customer community, it's essential to define its purpose. Clarify what you aim to achieve with your community. Common goals include providing customer support, facilitating product discussions, sharing best practices, and gathering feedback. A clear purpose will guide your community's structure and content.

A community once aligned with the purpose, also needs to be aligned with the business objectives. How should a community fit into a business’ revenue funnels and be a part of the bigger picture? It’s important to have these discussions with the decision-makers before building the community to ensure everyone is on the same page and the community Northstar is clearly understood.

Add a Structure

Defining purpose and aligning with business objectives creates the blueprint for adding structure to your customer community. Now you need to create the architecture of how people would communicate in the community. Setting up hierarchies, defining roles, creating dedicated spaces for discussions, having relevant channels, having a website, etc. all account for the overall structure in which the community will function.

These structures are really important as they help navigate the community, especially for newcomers. The more well-thought-out the structure is, the easier it becomes for members to discuss, ask questions, and connect, even when the community scales.

Choose the Right Platform

After you’ve defined your structure, it’s time to decide on a platform that fits into your structure. Selecting the right platform is pivotal to the success of your customer community. Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, and user experience.

  • Online Forums: Platforms like Discourse provide traditional forum-style discussions, ideal for in-depth technical discussions and Q&A sessions.
  • Branded Community Platforms: Platforms ****like Slack and Discord ****have channel-based structures great for conversational discussions and networking.
  • Social Media Groups: Platforms like Facebook Groups or LinkedIn Groups are great for fostering a sense of community among users.
  • Third-Party Community Platforms: Tools like Reddit or Stack Overflow can also be used effectively if your target audience is already active on these platforms.

Choose a platform that aligns with your community's purpose and your target audience's preferences.

Build a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a valuable resource for customers seeking answers to common questions. Create a comprehensive knowledge base with FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and product documentation. Ensure it's easily accessible and searchable within your community platform.

Create Engaging Content

Content is the lifeblood of any successful community. Create and curate content that resonates with your audience. This can include:

  • Educational Resources: Provide tutorials, how-to guides, and webinars to help users maximize the value of your SaaS product.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage users to share their success stories, case studies, and tips.
  • Discussion Threads: Foster discussions around product updates, industry trends, and user feedback.
  • Surveys and Polls: Gather feedback and opinions to inform product development.

Consistency is key. Regularly update your community with fresh content to keep users engaged and coming back for more.

Make a great impression with onboarding

Great onboarding can be the difference between an engaged or dormant member. Having a fragmented approach such as onboarding over a 30-day period helps break down essential processes into comprehensive guides such as to not overwhelm a member when they join the community. What helps as a first touchpoint is to just introduce yourself and say “hey, here’s a familiar face” so the person at least feels acquainted. And along with that, just a few quick get-started guides so they can start navigating the community.

Provide incredible support

A community that makes it easy to get support will always be a preferable and convenient way for users to get answers to their queries. When you’re building a community specifically for support, it should facilitate faster and more dedicated support for all members that is not only reliable but also accurate. Here are a few things you can do to achieve that -

  • Have dedicated channels for asking product queries which should also be constantly monitored by you and your team to ensure instant support.
  • Keep an eye on questions that are frequently asked and create an FAQ page where users can search for answers for themselves.
  • Integrate Threado AI bot on your Slack or Discord community and the bot can auto-respond to queries on the channels where it’s been installed.
  • Train the bot on your help docs, knowledge bases, URLs, PDFs, and even your community conversations so it has context for all the discussions that have taken place. If people ask questions that have previously been discussed in the workspace, the bot can answer them using that as the reference.

How to setup the bot?

Step 1: Sign up to Threado and train your bot on your knowledge bases through URLs, PDFs, and community conversations.

Step 2: Customize the bot to make it your own and setup default responses for your Slack or Discord community.

Step 3: Test the bot to make sure all the answers are accurate.

Step 4: Install the bot on Slack or Discord community channels and allow your community to ask their questions and the bot will auto-respond to the questions.

The AI bot can auto-respond in channels

Foster Engagement

Building a vibrant community requires active engagement from both your team and community members. Here are some strategies to foster engagement:

  • Participate Actively: Engage with community discussions, answer questions, and provide insights.
  • Gamification: Implement gamification elements like badges, points, or leaderboards to incentivize participation.
  • Moderation: Appoint moderators to ensure discussions remain respectful and on-topic.
  • Events and Challenges: Host contests, webinars, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), or product feedback sessions to keep the community engaged.

Leverage User Advocacy

Empower your most enthusiastic customers to become advocates. Encourage them to share their experiences with your SaaS product on social media, in reviews, and through referrals. Recognize and reward their advocacy efforts with special privileges or incentives within the community.

Gather and Implement Feedback

SaaS products are never static; they evolve based on user needs. Actively solicit feedback from your community members and use it to drive product improvements. Be transparent about how user feedback has influenced product changes, demonstrating your commitment to their success.

Also, use the feedback about the product support to improve your knowledge bases and overall content which can even improve self-help options, making room for more detailed and accurate support.

Community building is a gradual process

Building a successful customer community for your SaaS product is an ongoing process that requires dedication, strategy, and a deep understanding of your audience. By defining your community's purpose, selecting the right platform, creating engaging content, fostering engagement, and continuously improving based on user feedback, you can create a thriving customer community that not only supports your customers but also contributes to the growth and success of your SaaS product.

Remember that a well-cultivated community is a valuable asset that can set your SaaS product apart in a crowded market. With cutting-edge support that’s easily accessible to your users will eventually lead to better retention, less churn, and a great overall customer experience.

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