Fostering engagement in private online customer community: case YIT Plus

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School of Business | Master's thesis
MSc program in Corporate Communication
MSc program in Corporate Communication
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Objective of the Study: The objective of the study is to explore different communicative actions the case organization can use in a private online customer community YIT Plus. The focus is on the challenges of the customer community that may prevent engagement as well as on the specific features, which can in turn enhance customer engagement by providing after-sale added value. The study also seeks to explore the privacy aspect of the online community and changing stakeholder roles in a three stage construction project of an apartment building. The main research question is: How can communication foster engagement in a private online customer community and create the sense of community among the customers? Methodology and Theoretical Framework: The research uses a qualitative approach in a single-case study where YIT Plus is selected as the case online customer community. The main source of data is gathered from eight semi-structured interviews. The netnography method is used to observe YIT Plus over the time span of six months. The theoretical framework represents how different aspects of the private online customer community can provide value, create customer engagement and enhance the sense of community. Findings and Conclusion: Important findings of communicative actions in a private online customer community are identified. The results help to identify salient features of YIT Plus that create value and to which communication should focus on. Challenges of the community are also discussed, especially in terms of unclear stakeholder roles in three identified stages of construction. As a result a project communication schedule is created, in order to answer five W's and How; who, what, when, where, why and how?
project communication, private online community, customer community, stakeholder, value communication, social network
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