• May 1, 2015
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Bluenose Discovers Success with Its Online Community

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In the growing subscription economy, customer success managers play a critical role. Customer success management (CSM) is as much about solving core issues with technology as it is about developing customer relationships, retaining existing customers, and bringing in new ones. It combines technology, product development, marketing, sales, professional services, training, and support in one business function.

But CSM is still an emerging discipline, and to support its pioneering practitioners, Bluenose Analytics, a leading provider of CSM software, knew that an active online community was needed.

"We knew that we were entering a space in the business software industry that is very new, and that the market would first need to be taught what CSM is," recalls Jaime Morocco, community and customer marketing manager at Bluenose.

San Francisco–based Bluenose was established as a company in late 2012 and released its first product in December 2013. It launched the Bluenose Customer Success Community, built on Get Satisfaction's customer community platform, in April 2014.

"Our go-to-market strategy from the very beginning involved social media," Morocco says.

Bluenose chose to work with Get Satisfaction because it offered a refreshing alternative to more complex and expensive community platform software, according to Morocco. The Bluenose Customer Success Community was up and running in less than two months.

Part of what made the implementation and ongoing management so simple, according to Morocco, was Get Satisfaction's modern design platform. "The product has been very easy to use and manage," she says, "even for a non-tech person like me."

Prior to the launch, Morocco and other executives at Bluenose didn't know what to expect. "There was no other community to compare it to," Morocco says. "All we knew is that we wanted to create relationships with people in the industry."

Morocco has been very pleased with the community's progress thus far. At press time, the Bluenose Customer Success Community had 312 members engaged in more than 110 conversations.

Bluenose early on seeded the community with a few posts; the community has since taken on a life of its own. The discussions, which have largely been generated by members, have covered a wide range of topics, including how to achieve early CSM success, upselling and cross-selling tips, and advice on how to structure a CSM team.

Visitors to the community are evenly split between new users and active, returning members. "People can come to the community and just look around or get information without having to sign up for membership," Morocco says.

Visitors spend about four minutes there on average, more than twice the industry norm. "People are coming to the community, reading the content, sharing the content, and spending time helping other members," Morocco says.

The community has also led to a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in traffic to Bluenose's Web site, and an increase in the number of sales inquiries it receives, according to Morocco.

Bluenose credits the community for a significant increase in brand awareness. "When our salespeople call potential customers, they've already heard of us," Morocco says. "[They're finding that] customers already know about us through our social community."

For a new company like Bluenose, such brand awareness is paramount. But Morocco is quick to point out that the social community is not meant as a marketing tool. "Outside of having our logo on it, the platform is completely brand-agnostic," she says. "We're completely focused on industry professionals, not the company."

As the industry matures, though, Morocco expects the company to become more directly involved in the conversations. "We'll be able to share best practices and advice,"she says. Building out a support forum for users of Bluenose products is another option.

In the meantime, Bluenose is content to let the community simply connect members with their peers to learn, grow, network, and generate meaningful conversations about how they can all do their jobs better.

The Payoff

Since its implementation in April 2014, the Bluenose Customer Success Community, Created with GetSatisfaction, has done the following:

  • signed up 312 members;
  • generated more than 110 conversations; and
  • led to a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in traffic to Bluenose’s Web site.

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