In the recent times of cut-throat competition among brands, community building has become an essential task for the companies to keep their customers engaged and keep the communication flow intact. More and more companies are turning to leveraging community to connect with their customers and interact with them in a less sales driven way.
Community building also helps the companies with customer support and marketing. It also offers opportunities to understand the behaviour of your customers. Communities create shared experiences, when built on the same values. Many businesses have already understood the importance of customer communities.
However, not all communities are the same. There are many different kinds. The one that you settle on will depend on your business, your audience and your resources. Thus, we interacted with top executives from different companies and they shared their views on 'How are companies leveraging community to connect and engage with customers.'
Akhand Swaroop Pandit- Founder and CEO, The Catalyst Group
During disruptive situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to focus on business-critical initiatives. As a brand, you must continue to remain relevant, affable and approachable in such times to foster trust and dependency. The objective cannot be to leverage the ongoing crisis to attract newer customers; your actions have to be rooted in advising your customers, and ensuring brand recall among your existing customers and partners. Marketers play a critical role in enabling seamless engagement with customers, salesforce, partners and employees.
While you can always plan ahead for contingencies, there are behavioural and attitudinal changes that are required to cope with such situations. Marketers have to be agile, quick, and fast thinkers to adapt to these situations. The existing product communication has to overhauled to make it more relevant, and one must realise that customers are adapting to the situation with you.
At Catalyst Group we are using such techniques through providing quality online lectures on our YouTube channel and other social media platforms for free. This is to encourage the students and to make them comfortable with online learning which will be a definite requirement in the near future. Even during interaction with students who want to enroll for our courses, we provide expert advice and career counselling.
This helps the students select courses that fits their requirement and skillset. Adventurism and experimentation has to take a back seat and concentrating on the development needs of the society as a whole must come into focus. Further on this, for our existing students, we are also providing free mental counselling sessions.
While in the recent years digital has been the buzz word, every brand has been forced to transform their processes and operations to digital. Especially for the education sector which was always traditionally relied on physical interaction, it is important to make a quick transition to newer platforms, which in today’s age is digital.
Most important of all, you have to be cognisant of the fact that the situation will normalise. So, prepare for that impending normalcy and how your brand will make that transition too.
Mihir Shah- Co-Founder, YesssWorks Spaces Pvt. Ltd.
We have a very vibrant and engaged community of coworkers from diverse companies who have got to know each other through various events organized at YesssWorks. We introduced a Community Testing program wherein individuals can opt-in to support beta testing and provide valuable user feedback to startups looking to launch their products or services.
Companies have found this feedback immensely helpful in tweaking their products potentially saving time and money. We are now evaluating formal rollout of the Community Testing program across all YesssWorks hub by building tools into our tech platform to deploy product, garner feedback and interact directly with the community.
Shivjeet Ghatge- CEO & Co-founder, StepSetGo
It is very important to understand that in most cases it's an individual that introduces a specific brand or product to a certain community. Whether an influencer, a peer, or a family member, the ability for that one person to successfully convert another, depends on two factors - one, the uniqueness or trendiness of the brand or product, and two, an actual positive display of proof-of-concept. This was something that we experienced first hand with StepSetGo.
When we opened our platform to the public, we started off by doing a small dipstick at the NMIMS college. I personally went to the college grounds, explained, and enrolled members onto the platform, and on that first day itself, we had about 200 users. Initially, a lot of individuals looked at us with absolute disbelief, that through simply earning SSG coins by walking they could potentially buy clothes, gadgets etc.
However, the minute one user witnessed a member within their social circle actually reap the benefits of their walking rewards, a proof-of-concept was established and it created a ripple effect where we landed up gaining almost 55,000+ users everyday within out first quarter.
Anshul Gupta- Co-founder of BOX8 (Poncho Hospitality Pvt Ltd) and MOJO Pizza
The community that we largely focus on is our repeat customer audience. We do everything to pass on maximum value to them - whether it is providing 2X toppings on the pizzas, or delivering the orders within 30 minutes, or giving them the best discount offers.
We listen to their feedback at every step through various channels. Our Brand Managers write to customers personally asking them about their experience, and go through every response. We have a dedicated team that constantly works on analyzing the feedback & making necessary changes.
A large chunk of our orders come from repeat customers. Focusing on them helps us gain customer loyalty and word of mouth. Most of our customers have told us that they got to know about MOJO Pizza via their friends & family.
Rohit Gera- Managing Director, Gera Developments
We have been conducting on-ground workshops and events for our customers anchored in our goal to nurture communities. With celebrity academy tie-ups as part of our ChildCentric® Homes product segment, these have ranged from star-studded events with Shankar Mahadevan, Shiamak Davar, Mahesh Bhupathi, Bhaichung Bhutia to name a few, to concerts by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy to tailored learning and engagement workshops for children to launching our business engagement platform, LINT expanded as Learning Inspiration Networking Training, for our commercial project customers.
We believe in going beyond just constructing homes and offices to building communities and nurturing ecosystems. Through the lockdown, while everyone was adhering to the lockdown guidelines, the monotony of the routine, we learnt, was becoming a dampener. To enliven the situation and give our customers’ families fun opportunities to bond over, we initiated virtual workshops with experts from our celebrity learning academies.
This initiative is our way of telling our loyal customers that we are with them even in these difficult times. Excelling at customer service and giving them the best experiences, is at the core of our service philosophy. Businesses will go through changes so also customer engagement approaches, we must adapt quickly and embrace the new normal to be relevant and outdo.
Sujay Kalele- Founder, Trurealty
At TRU Realty, the concept of keeping our customers at the heart of all our activities has been etched in our very fabric. We put tremendous efforts in delighting our customers at each stage of the sales cycle and hence, have created many touchpoints for flawless experience with the help of AI, big data analytics and 24*7 access to TRU portal. Simultaneously, we strongly believe that communities have the potential to run businesses with lower risks and higher returns.
An exhilarating experience coupled with risk free investment in a project can be the most sought-after proposition for customers. When we create a community of such delighted customers, we inevitably get accepted in their closed circles, and word of mouth and personal references lead to higher reliability and trustworthiness. Apart from customers, we also work with other stakeholders and create communities for them.
We recently concluded an event for the Architects community (Design Competition) wherein approx. 1000 Architects registered with us.