4 Replies Latest reply on Aug 1, 2008 9:55 AM by Carlos

    What are the risks of NOT building a community

    adam.mertz

      Had an interesting question come our way today (posting for them here and hoping they'll join the discussion on Clearstep very soon) that's kind of a reverse ROI question...

       

      They are interested in building a case about the risks if they do not deploy a community (from an external perspective) and wanted to know if anyone has any examples of reputations that have crumbled or other negative factors that happened from comapnies ignoring this channel?  It's an international company so if anyone has examples in or outside the U.S. is great as they're seeking to pitch this within various countries.

       

      Love to hear any thoughts.

        • Re: What are the risks of NOT building a community

          In my experience, there is one additional (and important) risk caused by not having communities: communities change the way your company operates, and those changes are all about BUSINESS AGILITY. This type of change may be more important in the long term than any other tactical change, such as improved customer feedback or brand dilution.

           

          The problem is, those changes are not visible unless you have been on both sides of the issue, and in that case you don't need it

           

          Bu this catch-22 is not hard to circumvent: changes brought about by communities becomes apparent when you attempt to REMOVE such communities from Business Units or Lines of Businesses that are already using them; a typical example will be that of a community falling through the cracks in a business reorganization. Having gone through the process, I can testify that participants feel that letting go on the community is like being asked to work inside a hole in the ground, and will resist the move to the point of quitting and/or mutiny.

           

          Common organic changes produced by self-sustaining communities include:

          • Emergence of customer advocacy roles where there were none
          • Increasing involvement of customers in product cycles, and increasingly earlier in the cycle
          • Drastic increases in accountability at all levels
          • SIgnificant reduction on workflow FUD (red tape) by moving decisions downwards in the organization
          • Much stronger competitive stance; a $1BN revenue vendor I am very familiar with has a cash-cow product that has been turned pretty much obsolete by a platform vendors' free product. Yet, the cash cow continues, the product remains the absolute leader, year after year, and all of it is fueled by its community. Effectively, the company in question remains competitive because of that community.

           

          That is probably what the "July 2008 McKinsey Quarterly survey on Web 2.0" talks about when it says that successful adopters of Web 2.0 have found new roles and functions created, and one third of them (the satisfied ones) feel the tools are changing company structure. All of those changes are structural, not tactical.

          • Re: What are the risks of NOT building a community

            Communities happen irrespective of you (the Jive customer/prospect) building them. Your customers and prospects already talk on their own. If they have a bad experience, they tell others. Your sales, services, support and PR/marketing people are having one-off conversations with your customers. This is "community" already -- a group of interacting organisms sharing an environment-- but in hetrogenized ecosystems. Imposing standards, regulating your voice/message, and quickly responding to feedback from the market are extremely difficult in this situation.

             

            For example, Google "Uhaul". The first two pages contain the following:

            uhaul Boycott Page
            2008-06-05 City Files Suit Against U-Haul - City of Berkeley, CA
            Don't Use UHaul
            » I Hate U-Haul Truck Rental (And So Does  Everyone Else) on ...
            U-Haul Sucks UHaul Sucks Don't Rent U-Haul Don't Use UHaul Trucks

             

            By not giving their customers a place where they feel they can be heard, U-Haul has forced them to take their complaints to a wider audience. Based on Google's relevance page ranking, we see that these complaints have resonated.

             

            The rule is that around 10% of your community should/will be negative feedback. This means you're giving people a place to air grevances and a place for you (the Jive customer) to respond. Giving you, yes:

             

            1.  Key customer feedback

            2.  Control over customer issues

            3.  Brand protection

            • Re: What are the risks of NOT building a community
              adam.mertz

              I saw this video the other day on youtube that I think is an excellent example of what's going to happen to a company's customers if they're not engaging them more authentically in a community.  It's funny but definitely gets the point across that customers will just leave.

              • Re: What are the risks of NOT building a community

                The video is great and funny. Who the sponsor is makes it truly hilarious