There’s a cringe-worthy trend emerging around how online community ROI is being articulated which has captured my colleague, Peter Ward and my attention. So, we pulled together this blog post our workshop materials, in order to share our point of view. We see many online communities using cost reduction as the primary measure for assessing return on investment (ROI). In some cases, communities can reduce call center costs by offering customers a self-serve option using the online forums and interactive FAQs. This is a good thing; it enables customers to resolve low-complexity questions independently and frees up customer support to focus on more complex issues. When online customer communities are first launched, cost reduction is often a short term focus. But over time, if the community becomes adept at solving customer problems and engaging with customers about new products, services and enhancements, customers will start turning to the community for customer support due to the company’s demonstrated attention to customer care. This success will actually raise costs – but in a good way – because additional benefits will come from increased customer loyalty, time-to-market and quicker recognition of customer needs and wants.