Top Customer Community Platforms And Their Features_background

This article is just what you need! After going through this guide, you will find out just what a customer community platform is, why it matters, and which one could be the best for your brand! So, let's get started! 

Ever feel like your customers just aren’t sticking around as long as they used to? Maybe they buy/subscribe once or twice and then vanish without a trace. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You’re not alone in this challenge. Many businesses today struggle not only with attracting customers but also with making them feel connected enough to stay loyal. On top of that, there's the constant battle to stand out in a crowded market where everyone is vying for attention.

A report by Gartner indicates that 77% of consumers actually want their brands to form communities! (Source) Now, you might be wondering how exactly this can help you, or which customer community platform would be best suited for your business. Well, not to worry; this article is just what you need! After going through this guide, you will find out just what a customer community platform is, why it matters, and which one could be the best for your brand! So, let's get started! 

What Is A Customer Community Platform?

A customer community platform can be said to be a digital space designed to facilitate interaction among customers and between customers and a brand. It serves as a centralized hub where users can engage in discussions, share experiences, and access exclusive content that would be all centered around your brand or products.

You can actually think of it like a dedicated social network for your business but with a twist. These platforms allow your customers to not only get support and feedback but also to connect with each other over shared interests related to your offerings.

For example, if you're a company that sells outdoor gear, your customer community platform might host forums on the best hiking trails, provide tips for camping in various seasons, and allow users to organize meet-ups or share their adventure photos.

Why Is A Customer Community Platform Important?

A customer community platform can be a game changer for how you interact with your customers, and they can see your brand. These platforms provide a unique space for your customers to mingle, share, and grow together. But what's in it for you and them? Have a look: 

Benefits For Customers

Support Network

With the help of a customer community platform, your customers can ask questions, share solutions, and receive real-time support from both peers and your company, creating a collaborative environment. For example, a tech company's community might feature user-generated guides on troubleshooting products.

Belonging

Once you successfully establish a customer community platform in your brand, a sense of community will be developed as your customers will start interacting with others who have similar interests and preferences. This is especially beneficial in niche markets, such as rare book collectors or vintage car enthusiasts, where such interactions can enhance the overall customer experience.

Exclusive Content and Opportunities

Members who are part of any business customer community platform often gain access to special content, early product releases, or unique events, which is the reason their loyalty and engagement increases. For example, if you are a beauty brand, you could offer early access to new products or exclusive tutorials to your community members.

Feedback and Influence

Customers can provide direct feedback on products and services through a customer community software, thus influencing your future developments. This is also a benefit for the customers as it makes them feel valued and heard, as they see their input shaping the products they love.

Benefits For Your Business 

Enhancing Customer Loyalty

Increasing customer loyalty through community engagement involves actively participating in discussions, acknowledging the contributions of community members, and making them feel valued. 

Now when customers feel connected to your brand through the customer community platform and see that their input matters, they're more likely to keep coming back and even recommend your products or services to others. This continuous engagement helps to create a bond between your brand and customer, which can lead to increased trust and loyalty.

Getting Customer Insights

Another benefit of a customer community platform is that it can provide deep insights into what your customers really need and want. By actively engaging with the community, you can observe conversations, gather feedback, and directly ask questions to get a clear picture of customer preferences and trends. The interaction will definitely help your business stay closely aligned with your customer base, making it possible for you to customize your products and services more effectively.

Content Generation

Customer community platforms are fantastic for sparking content creation that benefits both your brand and your users. When customers share their experiences, like how they solved a problem using your product or tips they've discovered, it doesn't just help other customers; it gives your content team fresh ideas.

This continuous flow of insights from the community can guide your team in developing new content that really hits the mark. Knowing what your customers are talking about and interested in allows you to create more relevant articles, videos, and guides. This customized content will not only engage your current audience but can also attract new users to your platform.

Plus, as customers interact and learn from each other's posts, they get inspired to share more. This creates a lively and engaging atmosphere where learning is a key component. It keeps the community thriving and active, which in turn keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds.

Cost-Effective Support

When it comes to reducing support costs, a customer community platform is just what you need! As your community will grow, members will potentially start to help each other by sharing solutions to common problems and answering each other's questions. This customer - to -customer support means that many issues will be resolved without your support team needing to step in.

This setup not only frees up your support team to handle more complex queries, but it also speeds up response times, enhancing customer satisfaction. Customers appreciate quick solutions, and when they find answers from their peers, it adds an extra layer of trust and reliability to your brand.

Do You Need A Customer Community Software?

Thinking about whether your business needs a customer community platform? It's a great tool if you want to bring your customers closer and build a community around your brand. Here’s a simple way to figure out if it’s right for your business:

Who Needs It?

Any business looking to strengthen relationships with customers, get feedback quickly, and offer a space for customers to help each other could use a customer community platform. This is especially useful for businesses that:

  • Have loyal customers who they want to keep engaged.
  • Sell products or services that customers are excited about or need help using.
  • Are looking to cut down on support costs by letting customers help each other.
  • Want ongoing feedback to make their products or services better.

You Should Consider a Customer Community Platform If:

  1. You want more customer interaction: If you’re trying to keep your customers interested and talking about your brand, a community platform gives them a place to do that.
  2. Your customer support is overloaded: If your support team is swamped, a community platform can lighten their load by letting customers help each other.
  3. You’re after real feedback: If you often update your products or services based on what customers tell you, a community platform makes it easy to hear what they have to say.
  4. You want to strengthen your brand community: If creating a sense of community among your customers is key to your brand, a community platform can help make that happen. You would just have to keep your customer community platform alive and engaged
  5. You need genuine stories for marketing: If you want to boost your marketing with real stories and content from users, a community platform encourages customers to share their own experiences.

If any of these points sound like something your business could benefit from, then a customer community platform might be a smart addition to help you manage your relationships with customers and strengthen your brand.

Important Things To Know Before Selecting A Customer Community Software

It's very important to understand the basic features of an ideal customer community software, as this will help you make the best choice for your needs. Here are some key features that will answer the question of how to choose your community platform:

  • Ease of Use: The software should be simple and intuitive for both you and your community members to navigate.
  • Customization: Make sure you can personalize the look and feel of the platform to match your brand.
  • Engagement Tools: Look for features like forums, polls, and live chats to keep your community active and involved.
  • Content Management: Ensure the platform allows you to easily create, organize, and manage content such as articles, videos, and documents.
  • Gamification: Features like badges, points, and leaderboards can motivate your members to stay active and engaged. So, that would be another important aspect to look for before selecting a platform. 
  • Event Management: The software should support organizing and managing events like webinars, meetups, and virtual conferences.
  • Integration Capabilities: Make sure it works well with other tools you use, like your CRM or email marketing software.
  • Scalability: The platform should grow with your community, handling more users and data as needed.
  • Security: An important thing is to make sure that strong security measures are in place to protect your members' data.
  • Monetization Options: If you plan to monetize your community, look for features that let you charge for memberships, courses, or events.
  • API Access: Check if the platform offers API access to enable custom integrations and enhancements.

The 5 Best Customer Community Platforms

Now, let's check out the top 5 customer community platforms, with their pros and cons, so you can find the best fit for your needs. Keep reading till the end of this article – you'll discover an amazing platform that offers even more than just community features!

Disciple

                                                

Disciple customer community platform

Disciple is a community platform designed to help you build independent, valuable, and trusted communities in a space that you own and control. It is available on the Web, iOS, and Android.

Advantages 

  • Customizability: You can customize the platform to meet your specific needs.
  • Comprehensive Tools: This customer community platform allows you to post various types of content, livestream, and even sell courses.
  • Analytics: You can use detailed analytics to understand and improve community engagement.

Disadvantages 

  • Complex User Interface: You might find the interface confusing and difficult to navigate effectively as this issue has been reported by many users. 
  • Integration Challenges: You might face difficulties when trying to integrate Disciple with other tools and platforms.
  • Limited Event Management: The platform has restrictions, such as difficulties integrating events with external calendars.                                         

Hivebrite

hivebrite customer community platform

Hivebrite is a community management platform designed to help organizations build, customize, and grow their online communities. It is ideal for large enterprises, associations, universities, and nonprofits.

Advantages 

  • Comprehensive Feature Set: Hivebrite provides a wide range of tools for community engagement, including event management, fundraising pages, and integrated email marketing.
  • Scalability: The platform can handle large user volumes without compromising performance.
  • Support and Responsiveness: Users appreciate the platform's responsive customer support and the friendly, approachable team behind it.

Disadvantages 

  • Complex Integration: Integrating Hivebrite with existing systems and CRMs can be challenging and might require technical expertise.
  • Email Deliverability Issues: There have been reports of invitation emails ending up in spam folders, leading to lower user engagement.
  • Frequent Unintended Changes: Regular updates and changes to the platform can sometimes introduce new issues, disrupting the user experience.

Bettermode

bettermode customer community platform

Bettermode is a customer community platform designed to help businesses engage with their customers and build meaningful relationships. It provides a central hub for customers to share feedback, ask questions, and connect with each other.

Advantages 

  • Engagement Tools: Bettermode provides a variety of tools such as discussion forums and feedback management to enhance customer interaction and engagement.
  • Gamification: The platform includes gamification features like badges and leaderboards to encourage active participation and increase customer loyalty.
  • Idea Management: Bettermode allows customers to submit ideas for new products or features, helping businesses identify opportunities for growth and innovation.

Disadvantages 

  • Content Moderation: There is a potential risk of inadequate tools for content moderation, which could lead to challenges in managing community interactions effectively.
  • Limited Language Support: Some users have reported frustrations with the lack of extensive language support, making it difficult for non-English speaking communities to fully utilize the platform.
  • Feature Gaps: Certain features that might be critical for some businesses, like advanced analytics tools, are not as robust and may require additional integrations.

Mighty Networks

mighty networks customer community platform

Mighty Networks is another good customer community platform choice which is designed to help businesses, creators, and entrepreneurs build and grow online communities. 

Advantages 

  • Comprehensive Community Tools: Mighty Networks offers a wide range of features including discussion forums, events, and courses, all integrated into a single platform.
  • Monetization Options: The platform provides various ways to monetize your community through membership fees, course enrollments, and group access.
  • Customizable Experience: With extensive customization options, you can design the look and feel of your community to match your brand.

Disadvantages 

  • Payment Integration: Mighty Networks currently supports only Stripe for payment processing, which may limit flexibility for some users.
  • Limited Marketing Tools: The platform lacks built-in marketing tools such as email marketing and automation, requiring additional tools for comprehensive marketing efforts.
  • Transaction Fees: There are transaction fees on sales made through the platform, which can add up, especially for smaller communities or those with tighter budgets.

Higher Logic

higher logic customer community platform

Higher Logic is a customer community platform that helps organizations build and manage online communities. It's great for associations, B2B, and B2C companies. With Higher Logic, you can create spaces for members to connect, share resources, and get support.

Advantages 

  • Robust Integration: Higher Logic integrates seamlessly with various CRM systems and other platforms, making it easier to synchronize data and manage community interactions.
  • Member Engagement: The platform supports a wide array of engagement tools such as discussion forums, event management, and personalized member experiences.
  • Comprehensive Communication Tools: Higher Logic includes built-in email marketing capabilities, allowing organizations to send targeted communications and surveys to their members.

Disadvantages 

  • Feature Overlap: There are overlapping features that can complicate the user experience and require additional training.
  • Limited Customization for Notifications: The platform’s notification system might not offer enough customization options to customize messages to different user segments effectively.
  • Scalability Costs: While Higher Logic is scalable, the cost can become prohibitive for smaller organizations or those with limited budgets, particularly when opting for advanced features.

MeltingSpot - What Makes Us Different Than These Platforms

Now for the moment, you are all waiting for. You might be looking for a solution better than all other customer community platforms, and here we have it: MeltingSpot. Tada! Of course, it is our platform, but we are not just saying it because it’s our business. We can prove that it is much better than others.

You see, at MeltingSpot, we are not just a customer community platform; we are the only platform that prioritizes customer education.

Deeper Level Of Engagement 

MeltingSpot does not just manage communities or facilitate discussions like the customer community platforms discussed above! We help empower your customers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Just take an example of any software company using MeltingSpot to help their customers master their products. With us, they would be able to provide interactive tutorials, webinars, and different other resources to help them master the product to its highest potential. 

What other customer community platforms would do is simply focus on support tickets or help in facilitating a discussion and will not focus on customer education. This is HOW we differ and is exactly why we claim to better than them! 

We also have some other special factors in our customer community platform feature that make us stand out from the rest:

What MeltingSpot Offers as a Customer Education Platform:

  • Community Creation: It will be easy to build and manage vibrant online communities where your customers can connect, share, and support each other.
  • Engagement Tools: With Meltingspot, you can utilize forums, discussion groups, and live chat to keep your community active and engaged.
  • Content Management: The best part is that you would be able to create, organize, and share a variety of content such as articles, videos, and documents to educate your customers.
  • Online Courses and Webinars: You will be able to offer structured learning through online courses and interactive webinars to provide in-depth education on your products.
  • Knowledge Base: You can maintain a comprehensive knowledge base where customers can find answers to their questions and troubleshoot issues independently.
  • Analytics: With us, you would be able to track your user activity and engagement with robust analytics to understand how your customers are interacting with the platform and where improvements can be made.
  • Customization: You can change the look and feel of the platform to match your brand, ensuring a consistent customer experience.

MeltingSpots Customer Community Platform Features: 

  • Search Bar: Turn conversations into searchable knowledge, making it easy for users to find information.
  • Bulk Messages: Send one-on-one messages to several members at once.
  • Notifications: Notify users directly within your product.
  • Email Digest: Automate community updates and drive repeat logins.
  • Smart Groups: Segment your audience and manage access to specific content.
  • Mentioning: Highlight or alert members in any message or content.
  • In-App Widgets: Build bridges between your product and your community.
  • Integrations: Connect your community with your preferred customer service tools.
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Ready to take your customer community and education to the next level? Book a demo at MeltingSpot today and discover how our platform can transform your customer engagement and education strategies!

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