black plastic chair with a sign that says "think outside the box"“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” ~Steve Jobs

Customer experience has become an area of focus for businesses in almost every industry. Whether you’re a boutique retail store or a Fortune 500 industrial engineering company, the experience customers have with your brand matters. 

Numerous studies show that companies that make the customer experience a priority for their business are outperforming the competition:

  • Organizations classifying themselves as “very advanced” at customer experience are almost 3 times more likely than their peers to exceed their business goals. (Source: Adobe Digital Trends Report)
  • 756% of B2B customers think that brands need to have a deep understanding of their needs to engage successfully. (SalesForce)
  • Organizations that lead in CX outperformed laggards on the S&P 500 index by nearly 80%. (Qualtrics)

And, while there are many important factors that contribute to the customer experience, there’s one tactic your marketing team can influence more than anything else.

Customer Tribes: A Marketing Tactic to Transform Customer Satisfaction

We live in a time when our customers hold the power. They don’t want to be marketed to. They want to be engaged in a personal and authentic way. Customer tribes or communities can be a powerful way to engage customers and continually add value in ways that make your brand indispensable in their eyes. 

So, how do you go about creating a customer tribe? While the tools (software, communication channels, etc.) or format (in-person meetings, online, etc.) can vary, here are three important ways to get the most out of the tactic:

1. Listen to Your Customers in a New Way

Most businesses “listen” by responding to customer service issues or product improvements. But, creating a tribe for customers provides a way to constantly listen to your customers about issues and challenges they’re facing beyond your product or service. What are they talking about? What words are they using to describe their day-to-day? How are they using your product or service? It’s amazing what you can learn when you actually take the time to listen to your customers.

2. Share What Customers are Saying Across Your Organization

More than likely, there are departments within your company that don’t understand what your customers experience on a daily basis because they don’t get a lot of face-to-face interaction with clients. The insights you gather from customers can become valuable information for anyone on your team. These insights can influence everything from how you engage with customers to new products you create for the market. 

3. Be Real and Authentic with Customers

Your customer community will continue to evolve in ways you probably won’t expect. There might be questions you might not have answers for at times. There might even be a complaint or two. And that’s ok. Customer tribes allow you to humanize your brand and actually show you care about your customers if issues arise. If you’re truly listening to your customers, you will always find ways to improve the community to better serve their needs.

Focusing on the customer experience is essential. If you’ve been considering a customer community as a way to increase satisfaction, my hope is that these three keys can help you create a tribe your customers can’t live without.