The Power of Data in Community Building Image

The Power of Data in Community Building

Customer Success and data go hand-in-hand. Accurate and quality customer data is what makes Customer Success professionals effective in their jobs. One question you may not have thought of is how this kind of data affects and plays into customer communities. 

At our Community Unplugged event, Richard Millington, founder of FeverBee offered his expert insights into how we can use customer data to start, grow, and measure the effectiveness of our communities. Richard is a community enthusiast and builder. His company, FeverBee, has helped hundreds of organizations build and scale communities. We knew he would be the perfect person to talk about this subject. 

Data and Customer Communities

Millington started out by answering the question, “Why do we collect data?” 

Simply put, we collect data to make better decisions. When it comes to our customers, we want to have their success at the forefront of everything we do. This mindset, along with quality data, helps us work backwards from what their success looks like to the steps we need to take in order to help them achieve success. 

This should be the mindset we take into building our communities and measuring their success. The two main questions we should ask ourselves when evaluating our communities are:

  • Is the community successful or not?
  • Is the community environment stable or not?

These questions allow us to dive deep into the community metrics, such as the impact they have on NPS/CSAT or the organization’s renewal rate. If these have improved since you started your community, then you know the community is effective. 

Millington emphasized the importance of having a stable community. The stability of your community can look different depending on what your priorities as an organization are and what the needs of your community members are. If either of these are out of alignment with what your current community offers, there is instability. Customer communities should evolve with your customers’ needs and with your organization’s ever-changing nature. 

Increasing Community Engagement 

Millington has a very simple approach to measuring the engagement of a customer community:

Measure how many questions are being asked.

Engagement increases if the amount of questions being asked within a community increases. 

If the top users (or ‘superusers’ as he calls them) stay active and engaged within a community, engagement will remain high. He referred to superusers as the “lifeblood of any community.” This image is an example of how Millington works with his clients when strategizing how to keep their superusers best engaged: 

Measuring Community Value

Millington shared a few ways to measure community value effectively. 

The first one was through a controlled experiment. He shared an example of doing this with one of his clients. They “hid” the community so no one (member or nonmember) could find it for a short time. They wanted to see how this would affect other aspects of their business. These were the results: 

  • 58% increase in support tickets
  • 35% drope in response times to support tickets
  • CSAT dropped from 4.3 to 3.8
  • Community “deflects” 163k tickets per year = $3M savings per year ($18 per support call)

Another way to measure effectiveness is by comparing members and non-members. Millington has tried this approach in the past, and the two questions he and his clients usually want to know are the following:  

  • Do active community members spend more time with the company? 
  • How does the adoption rate compare from members to non-members?

Through this practice, he has found that community members spend 2x more time engaging with the organization and have a 33% higher adoption rate than non-members. 

NPS/CSAT is also a way to measure how much of an impact your community is making on your organization. Keep in mind that these two tools are not meant for communities specifically. If you’re able, try to make an NPS/CAST that is specific to your community to avoid any confusion with your customers. 

“Start collecting data when people arrive,” – says Millington. 

When you start allowing customers to enter your community, you should measure their engagement and satisfaction. Compare this data with the data gathered a year later. The sooner you start measuring effectiveness with data, the sooner you will be able to compare it with your overall business data to ensure it is helping improve your organization as a whole. 

To listen to Millington’s full Community Unplugged session, click here.

Also, if you haven’t read the recap of Nick Mehta and Kellie Capote’s opening segment for Community Unplugged, you should. Read the full recap here.