The Top 7 Best Customer Community Platforms – January 2022

The best customer community platforms for self-service, their features, pricing, pitfalls, and more

October 7, 2022

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Our Expert Picks: The Top Customer Community Platforms

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With an all-in-one platform providing peer-to-peer connections, support, resources, events, and networking features, Higher Logic guarantees a fast time-to-value for you and your customers.

Vanilla Forums is an easy-to-use platform that can seamlessly integrate with websites, with a free open source version along with a cloud-based community solution.

Trusted by the world’s top brands, Khoros Community enables businesses to build online brand communities with robust engagement and management tools, analytics, and expert services.

With highly customizable designs and best practices in customer engagement, inSided is an excellent customer community platform specially made for B2B software, telecommunications, and consumer online service industries.

Coming from a major provider of online survey software, QuestionPro’s community software lets businesses engage customers with numerous survey types and rewards to gain insights and make informed decisions.

A global leader of actionable intelligence, Verint allows businesses to make better decisions from insights on vast amounts of data with solutions focusing on three key areas: customer engagement, security intelligence, and fraud/risk/compliance.

Tribe focuses on satisfying customers, reducing churn, and deflecting support tickets by providing a platform for crowd wisdom, best practices, and self-service.

The Top 7 Best Customer Community Platforms – January 2022

The best customer community platforms for self-service, their features, pricing, pitfalls, and more

, Oct 07, 2022

“A community that is engaged and working together can be a powerful force.” This quote perfectly sums up the importance of customer communities: When your customers feel like they’re a part of something, they’re more likely to stick around, help each other out, buy more products or services, and recommend you to their friends.

In fact, 97% of consumers have been shown to read online reviews before making a purchase and are 84% more likely to trust a friend's recommendation, showing that communities indeed play a significant role in brand awareness and loyalty.

Customer community platforms allow businesses to create communities where customers can engage, share experiences, and more. In this article, we’ll explore the top customer community platforms as well as pricing, benefits, and pitfalls. By the end of this guide, we hope you’ll have a better understanding of these platforms and what they can offer your business.

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  However we may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page.

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Our criteria: How we chose the best vendors

We take our research seriously and want to make sure we are presenting our readers with the very best solutions in a given software category.  Here's how we select vendors to be in our buyer guides:

  • Product: We want to have a deep understanding of a vendor's product before recommending it.  This usually means getting a demo by a senior executive (their CEO, head of product, etc), and/or using the product ourselves to make sure it has a solid UI, intuitive workflows, and the features to make it a best in class offering.
  • User feedback: We do our best to understand what users say when they experience this product.  User input allows us to accomplish a more thorough due diligence of products, put new vendors on our radar, and generally make sure we are presenting the right products to our readers.
  • Financial metrics: We are very much finance nerds and so use a product's retention rates, growth, profitability, and scale to understand whether or not it is truly best in class.
  • Best for a use case: Sometimes the best solution is the cheapest, the best tool for international companies, or the best for startups. We try to include a diversity of solutions so that our readers can find the tool that is best for what they need.

Here's more detail if you want to read further on how we research vendors.

In this guide you'll find

An Intro On Customer Community Platform

“A community that is engaged and working together can be a powerful force.” This quote perfectly sums up the importance of customer communities: When your customers feel like they’re a part of something, they’re more likely to stick around, help each other out, buy more products or services, and recommend you to their friends.

In fact, 97% of consumers have been shown to read online reviews before making a purchase and are 84% more likely to trust a friend's recommendation, showing that communities indeed play a significant role in brand awareness and loyalty.

Customer community platforms allow businesses to create communities where customers can engage, share experiences, and more. In this article, we’ll explore the top customer community platforms as well as pricing, benefits, and pitfalls. By the end of this guide, we hope you’ll have a better understanding of these platforms and what they can offer your business.

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Top Customer Community Platform Vendors

Our team tracks thousands of business software solutions regularly. Based on research and our expert council, these are the best customer community platforms for several business sizes and types as of January 2022.

inSided

Review:

inSided is a customer community platform created specifically for B2B SaaS businesses. With a focus on improving customer engagement through the power of community, the platform promises rapid growth in businesses’ user bases in just six weeks. This is made possible with inSided content creation strategies, health checks, benchmarking, training, and more.

inSided

Stats:

  • 50% increase in self-service
  • 80% increase in customer engagement
  • 20% customer-initiated roadmap
  • KPIs exceeded by 95% of customers

inSided

Pricing:

inSided offers three pricing plans:

  • Professional: This plan is ideal for businesses building their first branded community, with basic features and three admin seats.
  • Businesses: Designed for building integrated communities, this plan offers five admin seats, user groups, ideation, customer feedback, advanced gamification, CRM and ticketing integration, and customer success support.
  • Enterprise: Businesses that need advanced integrations and custom requirements may opt for the Enterprise plan, which provides 10 admin seats, dedicated customer success support, advanced CS integrations, and custom security requirements, volumes, and terms and conditions.

Request a personalized quote by providing details, including your work email, company, number of employees, and industry.

Best For:

inSided is great for businesses of any size, especially those in B2B software, consumer products/services, and telecommunications industries.

Higher Logic

Review:

Higher Logic is a leading name in cloud-based engagement software with 15 years of experience, 3,000 customers, and 50 million users. The company has successfully created solutions to build engaged online communities and has consistently been recognized by software reviewers.

Higher Logic promises that its community platform offers more than just forum software with social media integration. With branded spaces, 360-degree views of community engagement, personalized experiences through tools like robust nesting structures and microsites, event management, and learning paths for members, Higher Logic is a comprehensive customer community solution that can scale with your business.

Higher Logic

Stats:

  • 28% reduced support tickets (Jama Software)
  • 5x member-generated revenue with one community activity per month (ASAE)
  • 1,400% increase in community membership (Zenoss)

Higher Logic

Pricing:

Higher Logic offers three pricing plans for its community platform:

  • Community Essentials: This plan offers a one-topic community, pre-built designs, basic automation, ideation, guided online learning, predefined SSO and integration options, and email and community support.
  • Community Plus: The Plus plan offers all capabilities of Essentials along with additional engagement features, multi-communities, gamification, advocacy, add-ons, virtual training, and additional phone support.
  • Community Enterprise: The Enterprise plan provides all Plus features in addition to full design capabilities, event engagement, nested communities, microsites, more add-ons, strategic partnership, and additional SSO and integration options.

Get a quote by providing contact details and your organization.

Best For:

Higher Logic is perfect for businesses of all sizes in practically any industry.

Vanilla Forums

Review:

Vanilla began as an open-source project back in 2009. With multiple leadership awards and high-performance reviews, the company has proven to be successful in giving customers a voice in a community with a shared interest and purpose.

Vanilla Forums lets businesses create and configure fully branded communities that integrate with thousands of apps. The platform offers self-service features like rich content forums, knowledge bases, and Q&As along with customizable themes that can perfectly match your website.

Vanilla Forums

Stats:

  • 25 language supported
  • Used by 3,000 brands
  • 75% decreased time to answer (TeamViewer)
  • 35% boost in response rates (SSA provider)
  • 4x boost in ROI (Acer)

Vanilla Forums

Pricing:

Vanilla offers different pricing plans for mid-sized companies to large enterprises:

  • Essential: This plan is ideal for small communities and offers capabilities for 250,000 pageviews, five staff users, one SSO connection, analytics, and Community Essentials, Integration, and Developer bundles.
  • Corporate: Best for scaling communities, this tier has all Essential features plus capabilities for 1 million pageviews, 10 staff users, two SSO connections, three sub-communities, and a Security bundle.
  • Enterprise: This tier for large communities needing advanced features includes all Corporate offerings plus capabilities for 10 million pageviews, 50 staff users, three SSO connections, 10 sub-communities, and Advanced Developer, Support, and Performance bundles.
  • Enterprise Plus: For more complex community features, enterprises can avail of this plan with capabilities for 50 million pageviews, 100 staff users, five SSO connections, 20 sub-communities, hosting location, and key management.

All plans include a Vanilla SuccessTeamTM Manager. To get a quote, go to the pricing page and hit “Talk to Sales,” where you will be prompted to schedule a demo.

Best For:

Vanilla Forums is great for small to large companies, especially in tech, financial services, and consumer products.

Khoros

Review:

Khoros is a leading name in CX with over 20 years of experience. An expert in customer satisfaction, the company has garnered awards from various software vendor reviewers throughout the years.

Khoros provides knowledge hubs for self-service and spaces with enhanced moderation where customers can engage with peers and experts, accelerating resolution. Khoros Community offers an interactive, branded, and scalable platform used by top enterprises today to reduce support costs, increase brand awareness and loyalty, and improve customer experience.

Khoros

Stats:

  • Trusted by over 2,000 top brands
  • 581% ROI in three years
  • Over $1M savings in support costs each month (Microsoft)
  • 13 minutes average time to resolution (SKY)

Khoros

Pricing:

Pricing plans are not available on the Khoros website. Request a quote during your demo to get the right price for your business.

Best For:

Khoros is great for big companies in financial services, telecommunications, technology and software, travel and hospitality, and retail and distribution.

Verint Community

Review:

With over 500 patents and patent applications across the globe, Verint is an analytics company founded in 2002 that helps iconic companies build customer relationships by connecting work, data, and experiences across the enterprise.

Verint’s customizable customer community solutions use the latest advancements in artificial intelligence and analytics to increase engagement, promote self-service, and lower costs for customer support. By overcoming inefficiencies caused by data silos and using tailored customer community strategies, businesses can consistently deliver differentiated experiences at scale.

Verint Community

Stats:

  • 9,800+ global partners
  • 1,000+ patent registrations and applications
  • 6,500 employees and offices in over 40+ countries

Verint Community

Pricing:

For both public and private communities, licensing a commercial edition will cost an annual fee starting at $25,000 per year. This includes apps, built-in developer tools, product support tools, and add-ons for all registered private and public users depending on the subscription base model selected.

Best For:

Verint Community is great for large businesses and enterprises with many customer needs and integration requirements.

Tribe

Review:

Tribe is a modern, customizable community platform that lets customers make posts, vote in polls, upload videos, comment, and more. It’s basically a beautiful social media platform that can be integrated into a product website or work as a stand-alone community page.

The Tribe platform has been recognized for its expertise in community management, fully customizable branding guidelines, and sophisticated tools for social networking.

Tribe

Stats:

  • Over 44,000 creators within 12 months from launch (ConvertKit)
  • 16% month-over-month growth of member base (Klaus)
  • 60% active users after three months since launch (Pipedrive)

Tribe

Pricing:

Tribe offers four plans that can be paid monthly or annually:

  • Basic: This is a free plan for individuals and small communities with unlimited spaces, basic apps, custom domain, theme customization, and community support.
  • Plus: This plan for small businesses and startups is priced at $59 billed monthly or $49 per month billed annually. It comes with all Basic features along with analytics, Plus apps, social logins, and Zapier integration.
  • Premium: Brands and companies may want to avail this tier priced at $239 billed monthly or $199 per month billed annually. It comes with all Plus features in addition to Premium apps, Single Sign-On (SSO), white-label, API, and webhooks.
  • Enterprise: Large businesses and regulated industries may opt for the Enterprise plan for a custom price. This offers all Premium features along with enterprise-grade security, data residency, uptime SLA, and migration assistance.

Best For:

Tribe is best for community-led companies of all sizes in SaaS, tech, retail, media, and even non-profit industries.

QuestionPro

Review:

QuestionPro offers various products such as surveys software, research tools, customer experience software, and employee management. It focuses primarily on online survey software and has garnered several recognitions, including Leadership, Easiest Setup, and Easiest To Do Business With in 2021.

QuestionPro sets itself apart with surveys of over 50 question types, including simple, complex, logic, and branching queries to get valuable insights from customers. Real-time reports let businesses understand their target market, identify key drivers for revenue, and improve sales processes.

QuestionPro

Stats:

  • Support for over 50 languages
  • Over 2.5 million users

QuestionPro

Pricing:

While QuestionPro Communities is branded as a free online community platform, the pricing isn’t clear since the product isn’t listed on its pricing page. In addition, hitting the “Sign Up For Free” button prompts you to sign up for a 10-day Communities trial. We recommend asking about pricing on your demo.

Best For:

The suite of QuestionPro products is excellent for small businesses, large Fortune 100 companies, and even academic institutions and individual researchers.

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Final Advice on Buying a Customer Community Platform

Here are some last tips before you choose your customer community platform:

  • Make sure you define your company's needs and requirements and look for a platform that offers solutions for them. Don't get distracted by impressive features that you might not even need at all.
  • Look at third-party testimonials about the platforms you’re considering to lessen bias. Better yet, talk to other businesses so you can discuss their first-hand experiences.
  • Get a demo from more than one vendor. Seeing how different platforms work is crucial to making an informed decision.
  • Understand the costs (including possible hidden ones) associated with using the platform, as well as any potential upgrades or changes down the line.

Our list is a great place to start your research on customer community platforms, but ultimately, you'll need to decide which product out there is the best fit for your organization. Be sure to consider all the factors we've discussed when making your decision so that your customer community platform can help you achieve your business goals.

Looking for more ways to retain customers and give them the best experience? Check out our review of the top customer loyalty software on the market!

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