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Nigel Danson

11 ways Interact’s software can help you engage with your customers

By Nigel Danson April 25, 2012

At Interact we have been delivering successful intranets for over 10 years to ensure your employees are happy. But did you know you can use the same software to make sure your customers are as happy as your workforce? You can use the tools available in Interact Intranet to connect to your customers in the same way as you connect to your employees.

We have created some unique tools to enable you to build more powerful relationships with your customers and drive value. As well as being able to create an extranet that is used for traditional content management such as an FAQ database, product documentation and training material, Interact Intranet allows you to build activity around this information and to create an on-line community.

A successful customer community will lead to increased customer retention, more customer self-serve, loyal customers and ultimately customers that are happy to spend more.

Here are 11 ways Interact’s extranet software can help you to engage with your customers more effectively.

1. Find advocates in your customer base

Some customers will shine out as advocates for your products but others can be difficult to find.  Tools like Interact Answers will help you to uncover who the people are behind your best customers because they will regularly contribute to questions and come to the forefront of your extranet. These are the people who are invaluable to your organisation and who you should be building long term relationships with.

Interact Answers - identify your customer advocates

2. Create discussions around information

How do you keep a record in your organisation if the same people are asking the same things again and again?  Or even more importantly, if they are asking for the same changes, improvements or products.

Two features in Interact’s extranet software allow you to find common areas of concern or improvement. Document Comments can be used for customers to ask further questions around topics such as product specs or training material.  Allowing ‘Likes’ on documents highlights information that is important to your customers such as product improvements or useful FAQs.

Like documents - highlighting important documents

3. Create a thriving customer community

The collaboration and social intranet tools in our software are integrated with the more traditional tools to create a mass audience appeal – something that is difficult to achieve in any social software.  This is crucial in an extranet environment as this blending of technology can be used to ensure effective customer engagement. These existing tools are essential to creating a thriving customer community:

  • Comments on documents
  • Likes on documents
  • Search on all types of content
  • Ability to link to content easily in forums, comments and status updates

Comment on documents to create a thriving community

4. Improve support efficiency

Engaged communities will lead to more self-help and happy customers.  Customers shouldn’t have to go through lengthy processes to get support and a community can lead to your customers to becoming the best support team in your business.  Intelligent forums make building this on-line community easy and tools such as @tagging and ‘Like’ ensure the best answers rise to the top.

Build online communities through intelligent forums

5. Engage your customers in feedback

In a rapidly changing economy it is important to be in touch with your customers views and opinions around your product or products.  Interact’s intranet and extranet software has many tools that allow you to get rapid feedback from your customers.

Tools like voting on content are simple ways for your customers to start leaving feedback on your extranet and this can give an insight into what information they are interested in and find useful. It’s easy to create a quick poll on your extranet to gather feedback and opinions on your products from your customers. This is a really simple way to gain an insight into your customers views, which could influence key business making decisions in your company.

6. Create more efficient customer processes

To create a community you must initially have a pull to the extranet.  The best way to do this is by moving some business processes to the extranet.  The Workflow and Forms tool allows non-technical people to build e-forms easily.  So whether you work in marketing, sales or product development, you will be able to create forms like customer surveys, new product sign up and ideas forms.

Build easy e-forms with Interact Workflow & forms

7. Create teams of common interests

Every business filters customers by a number of different criteria such as vertical sector, product use, and geographical location. Interact Teams allows you to build sub-communities around these groups and engage with people in a more focused way.

Engage key groups with Interact Teams

8. Suggest relevant content

People like to talk about and follow information that is relevant to them. At Interact we have a saying – “content should find people.”  A customer will visit an extranet to complete a task and they need to be pushed relevant information.  Think of Amazon – it pushes you books and DVD’s that are relevant to your purchases and viewing habits.  Interact Suggests does the same and intelligently suggests information relevant to the user.

Interact Suggest brings relevant information to customers

9. Gain valuable customer intelligence

Find out what your customers are searching for and where the information black holes are using Statistics and Search Analytics.

The Statistics & Search Analytics tool identifies what users are looking for and provides an insight into how customers are searching your extranet, which can in turn be used to enhance your extranet content to directly support customers in their day-to-day work and their interactions with your business. You can identify if your customers are searching for a specific product issue or maybe there are a high percentage of searches being carried out on a new feature or product you are not stocking yet.

You can also find out which customers contribute the most to your extranet and who doesn’t contribute anything and asses if they are using the extranet to its maximum potential.

10. Focused customer communication

Blogs are an effective way to share skills and knowledge between customers and also for you to find out how customers are using your products day to day.

For example, a Product Manager can keep an eye on what features of the product may be working for or against customers to help with future improvements. Or your customer support team can make sure customers are kept happy and informed on key matters such as process enhancements and improved service delivery strategies.

11. Quick and easy to set-up with no technical skills

One of the big challenges when rolling out software products is coordinating IT, Marketing, Sales and HR.  We make it easy to set-up your customer environment without any technical skills.

We partner with Rackspace (the world’s No1 hosting provider).  This combined with Interact Intranet software that has been penetration tested by many of the world’s leading security organisations means that your data is safe, easy to access and more importantly easy to set up.

Nigel Danson

Nigel Danson

Nigel Danson PhD is an intranet expert and CEO & Founder of Interact. He has vast experience of not only designing and implementing effective intranet solutions within the public and private sector, but also of helping organisations maintain user centric, effective and up-to-date intranet.

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