25 Jul 2010

Building a community, the first rule

Turned out I learn something else entirely different in church on Sunday.
After the rather short sermon, the pastor had held a 'Family Section'. It started with tiny pieces of papers distributed among the congregation. In this paper, members are to give complaint, raise suggestions and whatever reactions that could lead to further development of the church especially in number. Members who wish can however voice out theirs publicly. He/she raises up his/hand, a mic is passed across and such suggestion is voiced out openly. 4 pastors were seated in the alter diligently listening, taking notes and answering to questions.
A lot of suggestions were raised. But one stands out. One nearly every one talked about directly or indirectly. And my summation of that one is that every member of a community wants to feel special; want to know they matter and are recognised in the community.
Most of us run different communities directly or indirectly. We are the captain of the soccer team, governor of the class, head of the family, leader of a group of people, president of an organisation, etc. Personally, I run a community of mobile enthusiasts at mobile.ngbot.com. Irrespective of what community, it is important to let members know they matter. This means giving hears to their words, talking to them, not as a whole but one-on-one. Depending on the type of community (NGO's for example), it may even mean knowing their personal lives, knowing their personal fears.
For companies, startups and coporate bodies, your customers are members of your community. Making them feel special means, great support/customer care service. It could also mean giving out freebies, promos and random gifts once in a while. (Got the gist from Namzo that Wufoo randomly sends out cards, via post, to customers throughout the year. That alone can make any member want to stick around for a life time.)


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My name is Opeyemi Obembe. I build things for web and mobile and write about my experiments. Follow me on Twitter—@kehers.