🛠️ How Your Community Can Help You Build Better Products
By Brian Oblinger
While support cost deflection is the gateway for most companies to find value with online communities, product-focused communities are on the rise — and with good reason. There is tremendous value to be had by engaging your customers to better educate them about product capabilities, gather critical feedback, and leverage their collective experience to build better products through ideation.
When customers understand the product better, feel that they’re a partner in driving functional enhancements, and have a more active role in defining the product roadmap, your products get better and business value quickly follows.
During my time in tech, we discovered that customers who visited the community regularly tended to have higher levels of satisfaction, expanded their accounts more rapidly, and used more of the available functionality. In turn, we saw our revenue and net retention rates skyrocket. Oh, and they required less hands-on support.
The Open Source community has been engaging in these behaviors for years and should be lauded for the learnings that many software companies have adopted and are enjoying great success with today. You can use these same strategies to help build better products and ignite adoption among your customers.
Let’s look at three key areas in which product-focused communities can add value to your organization, in order mirroring the path that community growth typically takes place.