Customer Knowledge Sharing: Explained

What if how we engage with our Customers is all wrong? Customers are a company’s greatest asset next to its employees. While budgets are stacked at 90% towards acquisition of new customers, existing customers get the shorter end of the stick.    Research shows that 71% of customers are at risk of churn when not […]

Customer Knowledge Sharing: Explained

What if how we engage with our Customers is all wrong? Customers are a company’s greatest asset next to its employees. While budgets are stacked at 90% towards acquisition of new customers, existing customers get the shorter end of the stick. 

 

Research shows that 71% of customers are at risk of churn when not fully engaged (Gallup), and 95% of buyers choose the company that provides timely, relevant information (Oracle).  Retention and growth is all about giving the right people, the right knowledge, at the right time.

 

Unfortunately the way most businesses share knowledge with customers is broken. Top down, fragmented and unpersonalized — customers enter a maze to find the knowledge they want, and often miss out on the knowledge they need:

  • Blogs 
  • Forum
  • Help Center 
  • Webinars 
  • Videos 
  • Ebooks 
  • Partner Portal 
  • LMS 
  • Case Studies 
  • Reports 

 

The status quo is complicated and expensive to manage.

 

When customers can’t find the right knowledge or it just doesn’t exist, they demand 1-on-1 support, or they switch off. Why do we make it so hard to access the knowledge, experts and collaborators customers need to achieve their goals?

 

Customer knowledge sharing is all about creating a knowledge hub not just for your customers, but with them. Today, social proof and a self-service customer experience is a major competitive advantage. Customer knowledge sharing is one of the few engagement strategies that is both simple to adopt and scalable.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how customer knowledge sharing can provide a competitive edge, this article will tell you everything you need to know. We will delve into the differences between customer knowledge sharing and related concepts, and share actionable advice that you can start adopting today.

 

What Is Customer Knowledge Sharing?

Customer knowledge sharing is the process of systematically exchanging insights between a business and its customers, and between customers themselves. This flow of knowledge can occur through various channels and formats, with a critical emphasis on feedback, peer-to-peer collaboration, and contribution. This is the fundamental difference to traditional methods of sharing knowledge like broadcasting content to a passive customer audience.

 

By connecting the right people and facilitating knowledge sharing within a customer community, the overall quantity, quality, and depth of support a business can provide is elevated. With a wealth of documented knowledge and better understanding of customer needs, businesses can therefore provide timely and relevant recommendations that empower customers, improve their experience, and create brand loyalty.

 

What is the Difference Between Customer Knowledge Sharing and Online Community?

While customer knowledge sharing and online communities both facilitate information exchange, they serve slightly different purposes. Online communities are platforms where customers engage with each other, sharing experiences, advice, and feedback. These communities can be a vital component of a broader customer knowledge sharing strategy but are more focused on peer-to-peer interaction.

 

Customer knowledge sharing, on the other hand, encompasses a wider scope. It includes direct interactions between the business and customers, structured knowledge resources provided by the company, and peer-to-peer exchanges. The goal is to integrate all these elements to deliver the right knowledge at the right time, tailored to individual customer needs.

 

What is the Difference Between Customer Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is the systematic process of creating, sharing, using, and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. While customer knowledge sharing is a component of knowledge management, it specifically focuses on the interaction between the business and its customers.

 

Knowledge management tends to be internally focused, optimizing how employees access and utilize information within the company. Customer knowledge sharing, in contrast, is externally focused, aiming to enhance the customer experience by providing relevant, timely information and fostering a collaborative environment.

 

What is the Difference Between Customer Knowledge Sharing and Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement involves building a relationship with customers through meaningful interactions and providing value at every touchpoint. While customer knowledge sharing is a vital aspect of engagement, it specifically refers to the exchange of information that helps customers succeed.

 

Customer engagement is broader, encompassing various strategies to attract, retain, and delight customers, such as personalized marketing, loyalty programs, and exceptional service. Customer knowledge sharing supports these efforts by ensuring that customers have the information they need to make informed decisions, solve problems, and achieve their goals.

 

Understanding these distinctions helps businesses implement a more targeted and effective customer knowledge sharing strategy, ultimately driving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term business success.

 

The Importance of Customer Knowledge Sharing

For most businesses, it’s becoming harder to develop long-term strategies as they navigate increasing competition, economic uncertainty, regulatory changes, and the impact of AI on traditional ways of working. Understanding customer needs and building human relationships at scale are crucial in any potential scenario. Creating an exchange of insights with and among customers offers a way to achieve both these objectives.

 

Customers also increasingly default to self-service, seeking solutions to challenges independently. AI promises to solve this discovery challenge, but its ability to do so is entirely dependent on the quality and quantity of the knowledge it can interpret. A ‘knowledge collapse’ is inevitable if an over-reliance on AI means creative ideas and specialist expertise are no longer captured and shared.

 

In both B2B and B2C contexts, the customer is always a person or group of people. Some use the term B2P (Business-to-People), but at the core it is always People to People. Potential customers make buying decisions based on social proof, seeing how people like them have experienced a product or service. Existing customers make renewal decisions based on service, trust, and transparency. This is a key reason why it’s essential to rethink outdated, top-down unpersonalized methods of engaging customers. By adopting a customer knowledge-sharing approach, businesses can provide the experience that customers are demanding.

 

Key Benefits and Ways to Measure the Impact of Customer Knowledge Sharing

Enhanced Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):

Connecting customers to the right knowledge, experts and collaborators, at the right time, can help increase the average revenue per customer as they get more value out of your products or services for longer.

 

Improved Customer Retention (Customer Retention Rate):

Effective knowledge sharing enhances how you support customers to achieve their goals, building trust, increasing loyalty, and reducing churn.

 

Enhanced Customer Support and Problem Resolution (Support Ticket Volume):

Effective knowledge sharing empowers customers to find solutions independently and with the support of peers. This reduces the volume of support tickets, allowing support teams to focus on complex issues.

 

Faster Product and Service Adoption (Time to First Value – TTFV):

Knowledge sharing can help customers understand and realize the value your product or service provides them, faster.

 

Increased Customer Advocacy (Net Promoter Score – NPS):

Customers engaged through positive knowledge sharing experiences are more likely to promote your brand to others, driving new customer acquisition.

 

Increased User-Generated Content (Content Production Costs):

Encouraging customer contributions enriches content quality and depth, reducing dependency on internal content teams and lowering content production costs.

 

Better Understanding of Customer Needs and Market Trends (Product Market Fit):

Encouraging customers to share insights and experiences allows a business to stay agile and responsive to market changes and evolving customer expectations, maintaining a competitive edge.

 

Increased Sales Through Personalized Recommendations (Sales Conversion Rate):

Sharing relevant knowledge tailored to individual customer needs drives personalized and effective sales interactions, increasing conversion rates and boosting sales.

 

Strengthened Community and Customer Engagement (Community Engagement Rate):

Knowledge sharing fosters a sense of community among customers, enhancing engagement, loyalty, and advocacy as customers feel more connected to the brand and each other.

 

How Successful Customer Knowledge Sharing Works

While the concept and outcomes of customer knowledge sharing may be easy to understand, existing ways of working and technology can limit impact. Zapnito’s Customer Knowledge Sharing Model provides a framework to empower your customers to achieve their personal goals with access to the right knowledge, experts, and collaborators, at the right time. Here’s an overview of the model and how to integrate it into the customer journey:

Integrating Knowledge Sharing into the Customer Journey

Throughout their lifecycle, customers occupy different mindsets depending on their immediate priorities and level of engagement. To truly leverage your customer community and build a powerful knowledge base with them, the platform you choose needs to support these capabilities:

 

Researcher Mindset:

  • Scenario: A new customer is looking for specific information to resolve an immediate challenge.
  • Needed capability: Allowing customers to search all existing knowledge (articles, video, documents) and community profiles means they can quickly identify existing, relevant knowledge or connect and start a discussion with an expert who can help create that knowledge. This means challenges can be solved quickly where possible, and the demand for new knowledge is captured at the point it is needed.
  • Example: A customer experiencing a technical issue with a product can search to find a relevant troubleshooting guide or find a peer with a similar use case to start a discussion.

 

Learner Mindset:

  • Scenario: A customer is open to learning more to support their goals.
  • Needed capability: Organize existing knowledge into courses or learning journeys to help customers discover valuable insights. Also, enable customers to create a profile so you can learn about their interests and goals through onboarding, helping to make more personalized suggestions of relevant events, courses, profiles, or articles that can enhance experience.
  • Example: A potential customer wants to learn key skills to elevate their career. By providing personalized suggestions based on their unique goals, you can build brand trust while inferring their use case and intent to buy based on platform behaviors and interests.

 

Collaborator Mindset:

  • Scenario: A customer wants to help improve the depth and quality of shared knowledge.
  • Implementation: Facilitate deeper participation through discussions, likes, replies, and profile follows. This interaction helps network knowledge and profiles to identify what individuals and groups find most helpful and valuable. This feedback is critical for learning about customer needs and where knowledge gaps exist.
  • Example: As a new customer is being onboarded to use your product, they can ask questions directly of other customers, provide feedback on how useful they found resources, and follow topics of interest. This interaction helps customer support teams gauge how engaged individual customers are, allowing them to provide more targeted 1-on-1 support for less engaged customers.

 

Creator Mindset:

  • Scenario: A customer wants to contribute their knowledge to support others.
  • Implementation: Provide customers with simple tools for creating and sharing articles, videos, and documents directly with other customers. Offering access to exclusive content or exclusive groups are low-cost ways to incentivize user-generated content.
  • Example: A customer has been with your business for one year and wants to share what they have achieved with the rest of your customer community. Allowing them to create, edit, and publish their insights in one place removes all blockers from the process.

 

A single platform for customer knowledge sharing is key to success as it centralizes all knowledge resources — such as articles, videos, documents, events, courses, and discussions — so customers know where to go, no matter what they need. To create deeper engagement between your customer community, your platform should also host profiles for brand experts, external experts, and customers, facilitating easy discovery and engagement based on expertise and contributions. When connected to your CRM and other customer engagement tools, a customer knowledge sharing platform can become a core part of your tech stack. Breaking from a traditional static knowledge base, forums, and resource pages to a single customer knowledge sharing platform can therefore elevate the customer experience, while consolidating existing tools and cutting costs.

 

Conclusion

Customer knowledge sharing is essential to meet the increasing demand for instant, trusted knowledge. A simple reframing of creating knowledge for your customers with your customer community can transform how you maximize customer lifetime value. The challenge many businesses face is delivering this Customer Knowledge Sharing Model with existing tools.

Is now the time to step away from the status quo and empower your customers with the right knowledge, experts and collaborators, at the right time? Book a demo of Zapnito – the only knowledge sharing platform built to empower customer communities. Our platform experts will help you build your own branded customer knowledge sharing platform in days, not months.