An online community is typically an approach to information gathering that includes the recruiting of a group of individuals with some trait (or set of traits) in common (e.g., campers, health & wellness enthusiasts) who are asked to participate with others in the community to provide market intelligence.
With online communities, we can implement a variety of tools to further define market personas (or continue exploration based on the current personas), trends, niche markets, and major areas of impact. The tools we use are:
- Polls – Gives a snapshot at a specific area of interest
- Surveys – Questionnaire based feedback
- Discussion Boards – Qualitative feedback and product exposure
- Moderated Group Discussions – In-depth data mining
The customer experience (CX) platform is an integrated approach to measurement that includes a feedback component to assist in “closing the loop” in terms of the overall customer experience.
In particular, this approach identifies customer touchpoints and includes a component that solicits feedback for each touchpoint that could include active solicitation via a mobile app, email or text.
The CX system is designed to integrate with CRM systems, and includes a back-end model for satisfied customer (promoter) amplification where the customer is prompted to share via social media their experiences. Conversely, if a customer reports a negative experience (detractor), that triggers a service recovery mechanism.
Hybrid Models and Mobile Platforms
The environment for information gathering is rapidly changing, with modes of outreach evolving from traditional (e.g., phone, mail) to interactive mobile and online approaches.
Indeed, many organizations are leveraging the widespread usage of smartphones and tablets to engage customers “in-the-moment” via technologies such as “geo-fencing” and multi-media platforms (i.e., gathering customer feedback using video, photo and audio formats).
Additionally, the use of hybrid methods are being explored as a way to get quantitative information (e.g., mobile platform surveys), but in cases where the base may be limited, respondents are subsequently brought into qualitative settings (e.g., online discussions) to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences.