The LiNC conference is an annual conference held by Lithium Technologies which is the platform for the Brocade community. This conference provides a place where you can meet and hear from some of the top brands in our industry and see how they are leveraging the community to move their business forward.
Community Manger Certification II
This year in addition to the conference this year I decided to take the Community Manager Certification class. The Community Manager Certification II focuses on four areas:
- Growing community membership and participation
- Developing and managing super users
- Managing company participation
- Driving business transformation
This class allowed me to hear not only directly from Lithium senior consultants, but from other community managers to gain a deeper understanding of the state of customer community management today. It was a great way to see some the tactics other communities have implemented and ways they have gotten their users to engage. During the end of the class some of the community managers were sharing some of the features of the Lithium platform they have used to show value back to the business and I think that knowing what the platform has to offer it will be easy for Jason and I to do the same for the Brocade community.
The lithium opening Keynote was headlined by Jason Silva, host of the TV show Brain Games. Jason gave a very passionate speech on Technology, Artificial Intelligence, the future, and how “we use technology to overextend our boundaries, our reach, and our limits.” If you have time I would highly recommend that you watch some of his videos on his Shots of Awe YouTube channel.
After Jason blew our minds on the rate of which technology is advancing Rob Tarkoff, Lithium CEO, took the stage to expand on how a Total Community approach is at the center of how brands deepen their engagement with customers across sales, marketing, and service. But Total Community isn’t just something you can add on to your Lithium community, it is more of a complete overhaul on your strategy and how you approach your community and its members.
Rob also shared some interesting stats such as:
- IDC predicts that 65% of support will be digital in 2018
- IDC reports that 30% of sales are influenced by community
- Deutsche Telecom reports that 80% of their customer service inquiries are answered within their community
- AT&T and Cisco reported savings of $45 million and $52 million in case deflection
For more on Rob’s keynote presentation you check out the recap on Lithium’s blog.
Closing the day 1 keynote was Litium CMO Katy Keim. Katy talked to us about the wealth of information that is available to us about our community and our customers. But companies are rarely tapping into this data. We need to stop seeing our customers as a contract number or piece of data, we need to see them as a real person. To do this “We need to start understanding customers in a different dimension,” said Keim. After that we were introduced to a new product, Lithium Reach. This gives a new way to engage with our customers across digital channels.
After the opening keynote wrapped up I decided to attend a couple of sessions. The first of those sessions was a talk on “Retention ROI’. The main focus in this session was that there are 3 pillars driving retention value; Savings, Satisfaction, and Sales. There is an older study from Bain& Company that says a 5% increase in retention will lead to a 25%-95% increase in profits. This is understandable considering that your existing customers are more likely to buy from you again than a new customer. Companies also need to understand that today’s customer has changed and they have access to more information on you and your competitors than ever before. This is where your community and customer advocacy can play a huge role in helping customers in both pre and post purchase.
The second session I attended was on B2B companies understand lifetime value. Some interesting points from an Aberdeen Group study were that high-tech firms with online communities:
- Achieve 54% greater annual growth in revenue
• Attain 3.1x higher customer satisfaction rating
• Decrease customer service costs by 2.6% YOY
• Resolve 37% of customer issues without the need to escalate conversation to an agent
I think the way B2B communities play a part in every aspect of the customer lifecycle is the reason for this. A great community will provide potential customers with information and recommendations on choosing products that will resolve business needs. Then after purchase will provide support and how-to information on how to implement those solutions.
Day 2 Sessions
On day 2 I started out with a session on leveling up your gamification. Gamification is something we are looking to implement in the Brocade community. It was interesting to hear some of the strategies on how companies are using gamification with employee onboarding, marketing campaigns, innovation, and customer co-creation. One of the questions asked in the session was around loyalty programs. The question was “how many of you are part of a travel based loyalty program?” and about 95% of the room raised their hand. The second part of the question was “Do you have more than one of these programs?” again about 95% of the room raised their hand. This goes to show you loyalty programs aren’t really about loyalty, but more about rewards. How do you keep rewarding your members to keep them engaged and from going somewhere else?
Throughout the conference there were great ideas and best practices shared around social media, community and engaging customers. There are a number of takeaways that I have and I am looking forward to introducing to the brocade community.