Critical Success Factors (CSF) creep up with sociological and technological changes. But the modern convergence of the two has created something so distinct from any other CSF that it deserves it’s own name; The Community Success Factor.
Do your customers like each other? Do they feel connected? Do you have the ability to connect them? This is where it’s all going. This is the skill you need today.
Every company is a clubhouse now, some empty, some packed. Your product is the entry ticket. It singles out those with genuine chance of connecting (your customers), from the rest.
Who do you have in charge of your clubhouse? What keeps people in? What activities are you running to connect people? What experiences forge long-term friendships? This is what keeps members coming back, and buying the entry ticket every time.
What are you doing for your customers beyond the product?
If the product is the entry ticket that lets you into the club, how much time and effort are you going to spend developing the club? It’s getting more important every second.
If you do this well, you forge relationships. People take pride in the clubhouse, they help maintain it, help run it, help repair it if it’s damaged. They rally against threats. They give you ideas to improve the clubhouse. They buy souvenirs of their time at the clubhouse. They take on extra work for merely the recognition amongst their new peers of doing it. And, sweet-holy-grail-of-marketing, they invite their friends to join.
You would be crazy to neglect your clubhouse. Your members can’t be peeled away by competitors, low prices, rival advertising, even bad PR. In an economic downturn, a strong clubhouse makes your product more important over those without any social connections. Members will sacrifices their gym membership before leaving their friends behind.
And that’s what the Community Success Factor is all about. It’s a clubhouse that you run, whether you like it or not. It’s not the product that matters, it’s who else is using it and if they like each other.