Why Many Customer Support Teams Have Their Heads in the Cloud

From chatbot integration to supporting virtual communities, ModSquad has remained on the leading edge of the latest customer service technologies in an ongoing effort to maintain the same level of high-scoring, efficient support our clients expect. To that end, we’ve worked within a vast selection of support environments over the years, from clients’ homegrown systems to the world’s biggest CS software solutions. From those engagements, we take our findings and bring them to each and every new opportunity, working to bring our clients the best solution for their operations.

When it comes to technologies that can propel organizations forward by driving scalability, the world is moving to solutions like chatbots and AI. But one trend that has remained consistent over the years is the ever-increasing reliance by companies upon cloud-based software like Talkdesk, a browser-based call center provider that offers clients flexibility while delivering ease of use. The shift from traditional software models, with their dated interactive voice response menus, is more than understandable; to think otherwise seems archaic.

But there’s more than a simple setup and integration that’s prompting this shift to the cloud. The recent bankruptcy of Avaya as it worked to unload its call center business had many in the industry biting their nails, feeling an urgency to develop a new strategy. And with no new equipment to buy (we all have browsers already, don’t we?), cloud software becomes immediately more attractive. And it doesn’t stop there. Dig deeper and you’ll see that these systems offer greater security, an easier way to manage remote agents, simple upgrades, live reporting and real-time decision making, and a standardization of global services.

Cloud software often allows developers to deliver new features in a timely manner. Take Talkdesk’s new AppConnect marketplace, which allows clients to add new tech features to their call center. As the world’s first enterprise app store, clients are offered new contact center solutions with free trials, one-click install, and pay-as-you-go billing. Beyond the dozens of integrations with popular business tools, AppConnect opens the door for any developer to build on Talkdesk, adding to the suite of possibilities exponentially.

It’s a seismic shift in thinking, and it makes sense: Clients can scale up in seconds and pay only for what they use, saving time and reducing costs. The software is often easier to use, making it simpler to provide top-tier customer support. And when you’re talking about great support, well, that’s where we come in. To maintain A-grade service, ModSquad integrates our teams into a client’s current operations by working with whatever solution they’re most comfortable. Because we adopt the solutions our clients have in place, we’re in a prime position to notice trends in the support software ecosystem. When you consider the benefits of browser-based services—flexible packages, improved service, with no equipment necessary—it’s no wonder so many of today’s support teams have their heads in the cloud.

Project Manager of the Quarter – July 2017

For four years now, Katie Carson has been an invaluable member of the ModSquad team. She started in 2013 as a moderation lead, moving up to assistant project manager in April 2014, and then to project manager in 2016. Today, we are thrilled to introduce Katie as our Project Manager of the Quarter.

Katie is extremely passionate about community management and moderation, and her dedication to healthy digital spaces has made her particularly effective in her current role. Katie’s management of one of our gaming-client projects helps ensure our Mods keep their diverse global audience of passionate players safe when engaging on social media. The project involves customer service, chat moderation, and forum moderation for a brand that’s been around for over two decades.

It’s a lot of knowledge to manage, but I love the challenge. Organization is really my forte, so I can roll with whatever curveballs are thrown my way.

It’s no surprise Katie is such an asset to the gaming client she manages, as she has her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Video Game Art & Design. Prior to joining ModSquad, Katie worked for Sleepy Giant, a development, moderation, and support source for the entertainment industry. There she climbed the ranks from enthusiastic forum moderator and support agent to team lead, and then supervisor. It was through her work at Sleepy Giant, Katie says, that she discovered her love for community moderation.

As a project manager, Katie is responsible for an array of essential tasks, but she finds her most important contribution to be the cohesion of her team. By taking the time to personally interact with each of the Mods on her team, she ensures everyone is happy and unified, and that issues are identified and solved quickly.

Her biggest piece of advice for aspiring project managers? Bring solutions.

Problems will always come up, but the client should see you as the problem solver, rather than the problem bringer. It develops a healthy business relationship and has the added bonus of streamlining resolutions without too much back and forth.

When Katie isn’t uniting her team or solving problems, she keeps busy with a variety of hobbies. In addition to being an avid gamer, Katie loves to cook and bake, especially new and exotic foods. She also participates in Belegarth, a full-contact, medieval combat sport (don’t worry, the weapons are made of foam).

When Katie’s client found out she was selected as Project Manager of the Quarter, they even sent along their own congratulations:

“One word comes to mind when thinking about Katie and her contribution to our project: Awesome! Katie is always on point and we feel very well supported from her and her team’s efforts. Katie is a great communicator and collaborator, which is essential when working with remote teams and online communities. She also has a fun personality that shines through to keep things moving forward in positivity, even when there is oh so much to do. This recognition is well deserved. Huzza!”
—Alex, Senior Producer, Client

Here are just some of the wonderful things Katie’s colleagues have to say about what it’s been like to work with her over the past four years:

“I’ve worked with Katie for four years and have learned so much from her in that time. Her passion for our client’s brand and product is so inspiring, and she has a way of uplifting her teams and bringing fun into every task. Fun as her projects may be, she also runs a tight ship and is uber-supportive in making sure every team member is able to work up to their full potential. I know her support is much appreciated by Mods and clients alike.”
—Geneva Hopwood, Project Manager

“Katie is a fantastic blend of being proactive, attentive to detail, and knowledgeable about both her client’s needs and ModSquad’s processes. She’s a great example of why ModSquad project managers are the backbone of the company.”
—Rich Weil, SVP, Global Operations

“Katie is a champ. She manages one of our largest and most engaged (and awesome) clients. From the moment she joined us, she has been loyal, hardworking, thoughtful, and supportive. Katie has a great relationship with the client and loves the project. She has built a strong team, and always goes above and beyond the call of duty. I cannot express how proud I am of her, and honored to have her as a coworker. Congrats, Katie! You are a fantastic leader!”
—Izzy Neis, Sr. Director of Digital Strategy

Company Spotlight: Kickstarter

This month, our Company Spotlight shines on Kickstarter, the leading crowdfunding platform that has opened up new revenue streams for countless artists, developers, and entrepreneurs all over the world. We recently caught up with Katherine Pan, the organization’s director of community support, as she talked about Kickstarter’s amazing track record and why the company turned to ModSquad to provide its audience the support they deserve.

When did Kickstarter start?

Kickstarter launched in 2009, but the story begins even before that. In 2001, Founder Perry Chen was hoping to help bring a pair of DJs to the 2002 New Orleans Jazz Fest. The endeavor proved too expensive, but it sparked a thought with Chen: What if potential attendees could pledge money for an event like this to happen? If the stated financial goal was met, the show would go on, having been brought about by the sheer will (and open wallets) of the people. From there, the concept behind Kickstarter grew. [Read about Kickstarter’s origins, as told by its founder.]

Tell us about Kickstarter. What is your mission and how do you achieve that?

Kickstarter exists to help people bring creative projects to life. We help creators find the resources they need, from funding to a community of supporters, to bring their ideas into reality. Since our launch, 13 million people have backed a project, $3.1 billion has been pledged, and 126,833 projects have been successfully funded. [Read more about the company here.]

What were some of the customer support challenges you faced?

Every day, we receive hundreds of inquiries from our community across dozens of topics. A typical day might involve providing basic technical support, walking a creator through the project build and planning process, or sharing more about Kickstarter’s values as a public-benefit corporation. We provide support in English, French, Spanish, and German, and before we partnered with ModSquad, our in-house team based in Brooklyn was responsible for maintaining our SLAs (service level agreements), including weekend support, as well as completing larger projects related to increasing efficiencies and improving the quality of the support we provide.

What brought you to ModSquad?

As our community grew, it became harder for our team to dedicate hours to the support queues (ensuring that the folks writing in received timely, helpful responses) while concurrently taking on larger projects. We initially partnered with ModSquad in April 2016 to assist us in answering Tier 1 support inquiries (which accounted for about 50% of our overall ticket volume), including weekend support. Our in-house team remained responsible for Tier 2 and Tier 3 tickets. This helped us free up time out of the queues to pursue larger projects in the service of our users. Additionally, our users could receive responses to their questions outside of our Brooklyn office’s business hours.

How has it been working with ModSquad?

We treat our Mods as if they were in-house team members and work to make sure they feel like they are truly part of the team. I believe that attention and care has paid off. We are more consistently maintaining our SLAs, while maintaining the quality of support we provide (as our CSAT data attests). Today, we’ve been able to train our Mods beyond Tier 1 tickets and look forward to continuing this relationship.

Mods Around the World: Enas Bakr

This month’s installment of our summer-long journey visiting our Mods around the world takes us to the Arab Republic of Egypt. The transcontinental country serves as the bridge between Africa and Asia, joining both continents via the Sinai Peninsula.

With a modern history dating back to approximately 10,000 B.C. (and an ancient history going back many more centuries), it’s known to travelers around the world as the home to the Great Sphinx, the pyramids of the Giza Necropolis (the oldest of the ancient wonders of the world), and the Valley of the Kings. Today, it’s the 14th most populous country in the world, with the majority of its peoples living near the banks of the Nile River in such cities as Cairo and Alexandria. Fun fact: If, like so many of our Mods, you’re a cat lover, thank Egypt. The animal was considered sacred in ancient times, and the tradition of keeping a cat as a house pet originated there.

In Alexandria, we caught up with Enas Bakr, a Mod who specializes in Arabic- and English-language customer support engagement for ModSquad. Enas relishes the opportunity to work from the comfort of her own home, where she’s kept on her toes by her joyous family.

What is it like in Alexandria?

Alexandria is amazing. It’s very crowded in summer, because we’re on the seashore, so people come from other cities to swim and enjoy the weather. It’s sunny most of the year, and the winter is not so bad. The temperature rarely drops to 9 or 10 degrees Celsius.

Tell us know a little about yourself.

My mom is Lebanese and my dad is Egyptian, so I’m a good mix. I’m 36 years old and married with two kids, Judy (13) and Ahmed (10). They can drive me crazy, but they and my husband mean the world to me. Being a mom and working from home, I don’t have a lot of “me” time. I like watching movies (dramas, thrillers, and comedies are my favorite) and listening to music. I’m also a good cook. I’m a cheesecake master and quite good at making my own pasta. And I love to travel. Italy and France (especially Paris) are on the top of my wish list.

What was your work background before coming to ModSquad?

I have about ten years’ experience working remote jobs. I haven’t worked from an office at all during this period. I started as a junior editor in a media monitoring agency. I used to translate between Arabic and English. Later, I worked as a media analyst at another agency, then as a moderator, and then in customer support.

What led you to ModSquad?

Google! I searched for vacancies and applied through the website.

What projects have your particularly enjoyed working on?

My favorite projects have involved beauty products, as I love cosmetics, perfumes, and everything related to beauty. For those projects, I’ve provided social customer support on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, in both English and Arabic.

What skills have you gained from your time at ModSquad?

Definitely customer support. I know how hard it is to deal with customers that are upset, and I’ve learned so much from the team here at ModSquad.

If Peak Staffing Gives You the Chills, Here’s a Hot Solution

It’s the nightmare of every support-team manager. That time of year when extra support is necessary to meet the tidal wave of demand that accompanies holiday sales, anniversary promotions, or big new releases. Those harried HR folks have to advertise for temporary help, sort through the replies that come in, then conduct a series of interviews.

But it doesn’t end there. Once the offer is made to the right folks, contracts have to be signed, tax forms collected, pay systems updated with new registrants, and policies presented to ensure the new team is aware of company expectations. Then the newcomers have to be provided with equipment (you do have the tools and space, right?) and trained.

Oh, yes, training. It takes an average of three work weeks to get a newcomer fully up to speed. Sure, if they’ve got experience they might be able to jump in and make a go of it. But if you’ve got them acting as customer support agents, that’s a risky proposition. Are they fully versed on your product line or services? Do they have the emotional intelligence required to empathize with your customers? Pity their poor manager, who’ll have to juggle their orientation with the needs of their existing staff, all while dealing with a huge influx in tickets (calls, emails, live chat, etc.) and trying to keep response times down to reasonable numbers.

Is your stress level up, thinking about all this? That’s why we’re here to tell you… there’s a better way. Outsourced seasonal support. (What we call “ModSourcing.”)

Supplement your workforce with a flexible, remote team that can ramp up to provide as much support as you need — up to 24/7/365 availability, in dozens and dozens of languages, based in more than 70 countries around the world. Need additional content moderators or social media specialists? Want to bulk up your community engagement? Or do you simply need more people to answer calls and emails? We’re here for you, with seasoned, professional workers who already have an affinity for your product or service. (That’s why we place them on your support team.)

Think of all the headaches, outlined above, that you’ll avoid:

  • No hiring and recurring onboarding
  • No overwhelming paperwork and tax forms
  • No training of multiple employees
  • No new equipment needed and no physical overhead costs
  • No scheduling of myriad support-team members
  • No downsizing when the peak period ends

Ramp up quickly and scale down just as fast with as many or as few hours as you need. Flexible staffing ensures that you don’t pay for time that you won’t use. With detailed reporting and transparent pricing, this is a clear win for you, your HR team, the managers of your staff, and certainly for your customers.

Wake up from the traditional nightmare of seasonal support. Remember, you’ve got ModSquad on your side now — no more need to worry! Go ahead, hit that snooze button — we won’t tell.

Social Safety Reminders for Those of Us Who Should Know Better

In the wake of our recent kids’ digital safety overview and collection of tips, we felt it time to share a few safety tips that may help even the most digitally engaged of us. After a glimpse into our own friends and family networks, we’ve spotted a few key reminders important to us all. Whether it be your hyper-Facebooking Auntie, or that old high school buddy from the days of yore obsessed with Instagram stories, these tips are definitely share-worthy:

35 Questions That Expose Your Secrets

Have you seen those questionnaires or surveys on Facebook — the quirky surveys that ask you to share your first dog’s name or your high school mascot? Believe it or not, but these are keys for obtaining passwords.

While your friends are generally NOT looking to swipe your personal details, there are those in the world who will take advantage of lax privacy settings. Keep this in mind next time you’re tempted to copy/paste with your own personal intricacies.

Beef Up Your Security

Whether you’re connecting to wifi at home or tapping into an open wifi network on vacation, make sure to actively improve your password settings. It’s not difficult for people to park in front of your home and hack into your wifi. Also, the concept of “nothing is free” definitely applies to open wifi. Criminals can easily pull simple passwords or tap into your phone’s data.

We recommend long passwords (10+ characters) that include upper and lower case changes, numbers, and symbols. Tired of managing dozens of passwords? Look into password manager systems. They’re relatively inexpensive and incredibly helpful.

Over-Share Warnings

Using social media to publicize events, places, and activities to your friends and local community is becoming the norm. From the Nextdoor app to Facebook and Airbnb, we’ve seen many people forgo privacy for purpose. Remember:

  • Passive aggressive posts on Nextdoor can become active aggression if you forget that your location is auto-set to public upon joining. Change your settings for more privacy.
  • Social advertising of your cute Airbnb may get you more than renters, but also criminals looking to break in when the place is empty.
  • Selling your belongings on Facebook Market? Be thoughtful with how you publicize pick-up, or you may end up with your address living publicly online for a lot longer than you intend.
  • Hosting the community’s annual Chili Cook-Off at your house? Think twice about how you intend to make your destination visible to the outside world.
  • Each time your post on Facebook, the platform both tags and references your location (unless corrected or engaging the opt-out). Keep that in mind when you’re lament-posting about your sick-in-bed workday illness… from Disneyland.
  • Google your name often. Data-bots crawling the web, White Pages, and credit cards sell or post your data with little-to-no notice. If you find yourself and your address on a site you do have the ability to request a “removal” from their privacy policy.

Photos & Geo-Locating

Photo-sharing apps and sites add geo-locations to your photos, either visibly or within code. Sharing vacation photos can be an indication that you’re presently not at home. Be smart with your privacy settings, geo-tags, and your vacation declarations.

It is important to add a special note about Snapchat, which recently launched Snap Map. This feature allows you to attach your photos to locations on a public map, which then groups all photos of people together. This means, if your teen has enabled this feature and posts his/her activity from Six Flags or festivities at the river, your teen’s immediate location is accessible and navigable by every person accessing that feature in the region. This is a security and privacy risk.

There are so many fun activities and places to share with your networks this summer, just please make sure you’re cognizant of security practices, access points, and how you’re sharing information digitally.

Mod of the Month – June 2017

Summer is in full swing (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere), and as June comes to a close, we’re pleased to introduce another outstanding Mod. Congratulations to our June 2017 Mod of the Month, Cory Benzenhoefer!

Since Cory started with ModSquad in October 2013, she has become an essential and beloved Mod on an array of projects. Over the years, she has provided customer support and forum moderation for clients including National Geographic Animal Jam, JibJab, and Picaboo. She currently works with one of our gaming clients, supporting a diverse global audience of passionate players. In addition to assisting customers via email, Cory communicates directly with our client to ensure emerging issues are resolved quickly. Due to her experience and skill, Cory also spends a lot of her time helping newer agents address more complex issues.

Prior to joining ModSquad, Cory developed years of experience working in customer service at United Airlines and Verizon Wireless, and in community moderation on various video game forums. Her experiences in those roles have helped her be reliable and dynamic in her role as a Mod.

I feel like every work experience will teach you something you’ll use in the future, be it at work or in your daily life. That’s become especially true with the projects I’ve worked here, where some seemingly unrelated experience ends up helping me get through a situation I may have never had to handle before.

Working from home allows Cory to spend more time with her three kids (ages 18, 17 and 12), as well as pursue her passions for cosplaying and costume design. An avid cosplayer, Cory attends lots of comic conventions around her home state of Arizona, interacting with fans at various booths and presenting at panels. Last year, she presented on a panel at Comic-Con in San Diego, something she says she wouldn’t have been able to do without the flexibility of her work with ModSquad.

In the nearly four years at ModSquad, Cory says there have been countless memorable moments. More than anything, though, she values the relationships she’s built with her colleagues.

It’s nice when you have a team that’s behind you and project managers who have worked with you in the past and seek you out when they need a hand or recommend you to others. That’s the best feeling.

Those project managers she mentions had plenty of great things to say about Cory, too.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Cory on multiple projects over the years and she’s always been a top-notch Mod. If there are openings in the schedule, she steps in to pick up hours that need to be covered. She prides herself on her thorough knowledge of whatever product she’s supporting and is an excellent resource for newer Mods who need a little help.

“As a Tier 2 / Lead Mod on my current project, I know when I delegate tasks to her, they’ll not only get done on time, but they’ll be handled thoroughly from start to finish. Finally, Cory is a customer support machine! Not only does Cory have some of the highest numbers on our team in terms of ticket resolutions, but she also maintains excellent QA scores and gives customers great service.

“I can’t say enough good things about Cory. She’s awesome at pretty much everything she does, and is a true long-term MVP for ModSquad!”
—Krystalle Voecks, Project Manager

“Cory is a POWERHOUSE! Seriously, that lady could face a wall of customer service doom and conquer it. She is a quick learner and autonomous in her ability to rapidly apply new information to waiting tickets. She’s also great working with the team, keeping everyone up to date, and voicing her concerns to leadership. Everybody needs a Cory on their team.”
—Katie Carson, Project Manager

10 Tips for Kids’ Digital Safety this Summer

It’s summertime and the kids are home, either running amok with wild energy in the yard or showcasing their explosive summer energy inside. While there are many playdates, activities, art projects, vacations, sports, and planned family outings to be had, this is also the time of year where kids have more access to technology.

At ModSquad, we work with a number of clients to ensure the safety of their young audiences. For each client, we establish moderation policies and processes that suit their audiences, as well as take into consideration laws like COPPA. Given our background, we pulled together these digital safety tips to help your kids enjoy their tech time while you feel comfortable they’re doing so safely.

1. Kids’ Culture of Interactivity

Your child will want to connect with others via games, websites, and social media. Curiosity is great, but parental vigilance is essential. As adults, we still see things as “offline” and “online” activity. Children see it as one giant, interconnected world, and this is very important, as it explains the genuine logic today’s kids apply to digital platforms. If you show fear, distrust, or distaste for your child’s digital or social interactivity, you may create a rift between the rules you set and how your child behaves online when you’re not looking.

2. Oversharing and Caring

It’s hard for children to understand the concept of oversharing or the importance of privacy. Talk to your child about why it’s OK to talk about shared interests, but not OK to put themselves or others in danger by sharing private information.

3. No Seclusion

Tablets, mobile devices, and computers should be used and remain in family areas — living rooms, family rooms, kitchens, etc. — with regular foot traffic. Secluded digital usage creates secrecy and a feeling of entitlement with privacy.

4. Don’t Overreact

Your child yearns to learn, experience, and interact. If something happens that scares you, take a moment to think, step back, and try to understand the full situation. When you approach the subject with your child, be thoughtful with your concerns.

5. Minecraft and Similar Games

Remember that Minecraft is not designed explicitly for children; in fact, to create an account, you must confirm that you’re at least 13 years old. Shared servers and social play includes opportunities for chat, private messaging, user-created imagery, etc. that you may not agree with. Here at ModSquad we created Minecraft server for our kids and families to play on, providing an insulated realm in which to enjoy the game. Play with your child, be present, engaged, and cognizant of all activities.

6. Review, Review, Review

There are “secret” apps that hide messaging programs and photo vaults. They are disguised as calculators and other innocuous apps but are actually password-protected areas for users to hide content from prying eyes.

Click on all the apps your child has downloaded. If you don’t know what it is or feel unequipped to understand, search the apps on CommonSenseMedia.org.

7. APPlicable Warnings

Snapchat – This app is not for children. While photo-swapping may be fun with childlike filters, the app routinely showcases risque adult content from “Featured” marketing programs and paid sponsors. These are prominent and you cannot adjust or remove content from Vice, Cosmopolitan, MTV, etc.

Musical.ly – This app is fun and whimsical with a karaoke twist, allowing kids to record themselves lip-syncing or singing along to a popular song. I routinely receive complaints from parents whose children (particularly girls) experience cruelty, bullying, and mental stress as a result. Be aware.

YouTube – No matter how much your children love this platform, they are most likely exposed regularly to language, vicious comment trolls, adult themes, or suggestive behaviors. Often, skits or cartoons that seem to be intended for children are not. Further, because YouTube automatically populates suggestions of other videos to watch, even age-appropriate or parent-approved videos can lead children to less appropriate content that YouTube’s algorithm deems “related.”

Instagram – Kids of all ages learn to derive self-worth through how they are perceived on social media, especially visual platforms like Instagram. Through carefully curated Instagram photos and filters, they present a certain image of themselves, often based on what they see in celebrity and pop culture. In addition, your tween or teen may have a “finstagram,” or fake Instagram, a separate, private Instagram account on which they share content with only those they allow to follow them. When reviewing their social media and app activity, be sure to check for these types of hidden accounts.

8. Personal Exploration

Be aware that your child may explore their identity digitally, from gender to personality traits. It’s not uncommon for children, tweens, and teens to maintain multiple social media accounts that apply to different interests. Engage calmly and do not panic; this is exploration of curiosity. If your child’s personal exploration appears to be abusive towards others, react responsibly.

9. Use Digital Time Wisely!

While there’s an endless amount of digital content to suck up hours of your day — streaming video, games, apps, social media, etc. — there are also plenty of games for families to play together, or art projects and activities to download and experience offline.

10. Remember: It’s a Parental Choice

No doubt, you’ve seen the iconic “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogans. The biggest piece of advice for kids’ digital safety is: Keep Calm. Support and be vigilant. For all the instructions designed for parents wanting to keep up on digital safety, the best strategy is remaining present for your family.

NetFamilyNews is a great resource. They even have a Internet Contract, which can be very helpful in spearheading family conversations about safety, appropriate content and behaviors, and “netiquette.”

Additionally, The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) provides a wealth of resources for digital parents, including research, advice, videos, and guides to help you have meaningful conversations with your kids about online safety.

Izzy Neis
Sr. Director of Digital Strategy & Engagement

Community’s Important Role in the After-Purchase Period

It’s one of the most vital periods in any customer transaction, yet if we surveyed all of you right now, we bet it wouldn’t be the first answer you give. Or even the second. Nevertheless, it’s a crucial time that can make or break your relationship with a new customer.

We’re talking, of course, about the post-purchase period, that time after a new customer has committed to spending their hard-earned money on your product or service. You may think thank-you pages, confirmation emails, and satisfaction surveys are enough, but if you haven’t integrated your digital community with these initiatives, you may be missing the boat.

Think about your online community. These are the people whose experiences may have persuaded your latest customer to make their purchase. Why not work to turn that new customer into a similarly passionate brand advocate? If you’ve got a customer thinking about booking an overseas tour, the ability to read user testimonials from satisfied vacationers chatting on your message boards will go a long way toward making their decision.

Did you realize that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one? Yet only 16 percent of all companies are focused on customer retention. By paying close attention to your community, you increase the likelihood one-time shoppers will become repeat customers.

Whether on social media or your own site, comments sections, message boards, reviews, and feedback on social media allow your customers to offer their thoughts and opinions about your products. You can engage with them in real-time in order to resolve issues and foster loyalty, as well as analyze their feedback as part of future market research.

Learning is another way to engage with customers post-purchase, offering features like how-to videos and tips that help them make the most of their purchase. If you’ve just bought an expensive SLR camera, you’d likely be delighted to find the site you bought it from offers a collection of online tutorials. And if there’s a dedicated community of shutterbugs ready to offer their wisdom to newcomers, that’s even better. The result is improved customer lifetime value, with 10-50 percent of those partaking in community experiences making related purchases with the company.

One recent study analyzed active product discussion boards and surveyed their members. It seems that increased communication boosted customer confidence, even if that communication was with another consumer and not the company itself. The more insight the consumer receives about a product, the more confident they are in their purchase, fostering positive feelings about the company overall.

Building a community of passionate advocates to help you achieve this goal should be a priority for most companies. It leaves much of the heavy lifting to fans, leaving you with the task of fostering, managing, and monitoring the community. If that’s not in your wheelhouse, turn to a specialized service provider in that space. Give your customers a place to shine, and you’ll be golden.

That’s a Wrap on E3 2017

It’s no new surprise that a lot of us here at ModSquad are big video game fans — we grew up playing them, and a number of us have spent much our careers in the industry. Last week, we headed to Los Angeles for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, to see what the next year or so has in store for the video game community.

With so much to see and do at E3 2017, even if you were at the event, it would’ve been hard to take it all in. So, we’ve collected some of our own event highlights here.

The Los Angeles Convention Center, ready for the big event.

We stopped by EA Play, hosted by our friends at EA.

First, we checked out some of this year’s most anticipated games, including Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch. The game is an exciting new take on the series that provides players with a non-linear open world to explore.

If the lines to try out the game at E3 were any indication, we wouldn’t be surprised if this is the #1 title this holiday season.

We had a blast checking out Sony’s booth, which showcased a number of new and upcoming releases, like Capcom’s Monster Hunter World. Monster Hunter has been popular in Japan for quite some time, and we’re excited to see it catch on globally with Monster Hunter World’s cross-platform release.

We held our ModSquad Meet & Greet at Rock’N Fish LA Live. It was great to catch up with friends, as well as past and current colleagues and clients.

After an eventful week, E3 2017 came to a close. Next, we’ll be heading to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. We hope to see you there in August!

Did you attend E3 this year? Leave a comment below and share your experience.