Three trends are fairly clear I think:
1) Declining Reach.
It’s harder to reach people with a message now than ever. Organic reach has plummeted on social media platforms and Google is keeping more traffic for itself.
Even building an email list isn’t as effective as it used to be. Gmail probably put this email (which you signed up for) in a ‘promotions’ folder outside of your regular inbox and alongside spam.
2) Rising Demands.
Customers are more demanding than ever. This is the ‘buy now, by now’ culture. Customers want quick responses without having to file a ticket or call a customer support line. They expect to be heard, feel influential, and see the impact they’ve made. They expect to be dealt with sympathetically and not robotically. That’s easy to do when you have 100 customers, it’s harder when you have 100,000.
3) Pressure to Scale
Companies are pressured to scale their customer experience efforts (support, success, knowledge etc…) without hiring an army of staff to do it. Silicon Valley has shown the future belongs to companies that can achieve better results with fewer staff.
It makes sense to create a customer community filled with regularly updated expertise which your customers remember and want to visit to solve the problem of declining reach.
It makes sense to create a community where each member can be dealt with empathetically by other members, find immediate answers to their problems, and see their impact within the community and over the company.
It makes sense to create a customer community to scale support to thousands of customers around the world. Each new customer can help the next. Each person who discovers a solution can share it with the next person who needs it.
I don’t see any of these trends slowing down, do you?