The "Before, During, and After" Experience on Community Platforms

The digital age has transformed the way businesses interact with their customers. With the rise of online communities, companies have a unique opportunity to engage with their audience in a more personalized and meaningful way. Based on over two decades of experience, we've identified a three-phase journey that members undergo in a thriving online community: the Before, During, and After experiences. This journey not only enhances the customer experience but also helps businesses reduce customer churn.

The Three PhasesBefore Experience: The Invitation to Engage

The initial phase is all about drawing customers into the community. It's the first touchpoint, where potential members receive email announcements, invitations to create profiles, or prompts to participate in surveys. This phase also includes opportunities for customers to register for webinars, read blogs, or watch educational videos.

Key Outcomes:

  • Community Building: Creating a diverse community with detailed customer profiles offers insights into the customer base and their varied interests.
  • Data Collection: Understanding customer preferences and activities allows businesses to tailor their offerings, ensuring a more personalized experience.

During Experience: Active Participation and Collaboration

Once customers have entered the community, the During phase ensures they are actively engaged. This involves completing registrations, engaging in discussions, and participating in various community activities. It's the heart of the community experience, where members interact, share knowledge, and collaborate on topics of mutual interest.

Key Outcomes:

  • Trust and Belonging: A vibrant community fosters trust and a sense of belonging among its members, enhancing customer loyalty.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Active discussions and collaborations lead to problem-solving, making the community a valuable resource for information and support.

After Experience: Sustaining Engagement

The After phase is crucial for maintaining long-term engagement. Even after specific events or interactions, businesses need to ensure customers remain connected to the community. This is achieved through follow-up emails, reminders, and providing resources like webinar recordings or discussion summaries.

Key Outcomes:

  • Habit Formation: Regular updates and engagement opportunities encourage members to revisit the community, establishing a routine.
  • Reduced Customer Churn: Ensuring that the community remains a go-to place for information reduces the chances of customer churn.