Community brings people together, uniting them based on their common bonds. With social outlets readily available all across the Internet, connecting with likeminded individuals is merely a click away. Yet, while most companies focus on the company/customer side of social engagement, many neglect to embrace customer interactions with other customers as a means to enhance the customer experience.For the winners of the Social Engagement category of this year's Gartner & 1to1 CRM Excellence Awards--Husqvarna Professional Products Inc. (Gold) and Random House Children's Books (Silver)--developing an online, social community encourages customer-to-customer contact, improving overall customer service and generating buzz.
Husqvarna, which provides lawn and garden equipment like mowers, tractors, and chainsaws, instituted its AnswerArmy initiative as a way for consumers to connect with specially trained service representatives, as well as other customers, to have their pressing questions answered with ease. Customers can solve each other's problems, thereby increasing service options.
Random House Children's Books introduced Random Buzzers, which serves as a young adult book club for the modern age. Readers can write book reviews, participate in peer-to-peer discussions, and ask authors questions about their work. Random Buzzers sparks conversation while encouraging readership.
While Husqvarna has seen a welcome 23 percent decrease in inbound phone call volume, Random House has seen a dramatic increase in improved perception of the company as a whole, with 90 percent of Random Buzzers members saying their perception of Random House was enhanced by the community. By embracing social engagement, both companies have been able to utilize user-generated content as self-support products and interactive conversation starters, enhancing their B2C brand relationships and creating the word of mouth that advertising just can't buy.