Last week I ordered some audio equipment (wonder what for 🤔) from a company I'd never ordered anything from before and had a really great customer experience experience. Not an ad, I promise! Keep reading and we'll bring it back to community.
My usual reaction to receiving unsolicited texts right after ordering something online is 😡. But the message I got from Sweetwater shortly after placing my order felt different. Also yes, my real name is Mackenzie. Cat's out of the bag!
They didn't send me the usual automated text, with some link to buy more, or offer me a discount to "thank me" and encourage me to order again. They simply thanked me for the order, and let me know that it was in the works!
Then my package arrived, and it included a handwritten note and candy! Really putting the sweet in Sweetwater. At first I didn't think much of this, but then I spoke to Cole (who recommended them to me in the first place), and it turned out they'd actually reached out to him to see how he was enjoying the last thing he'd bought!
Never once did they use mine or Cole's info to try and push more sales at us directly. No coupon code's, no 'come back and buy more' emails. Just genuine interest in our satisfaction and experience.
Now you're probably wondering, what does ecommerce customer experience have to do with building community?
Community building comes in many shapes and sizes, and isn't always as obvious as spinning up a platform and intentionally bringing people together. While this company may not be building community in the way that many of you reading this are, their approach to customer experience offers a great example of creating community through the building blocks of authenticity, trust and real relationships.
By building genuine 1:1 relationships with their customers, Sweetwater is able to create a sense of 'community' around their brand, which leads to conversations, recommendations, and a grassroots formation of a Sweetwater community.
Without these building blocks at the core of your community, you won't succeed. Building community for the sake of sales, or the sake of marketing doesn't work. You have to build it for the sake of community, build trust via authenticity, and the benefits will flow freely.
#NotAnAd, but this post alone shows the value of being authentic!