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Customer success

Customer success

Customer success

Dec 5, 2023

Khoros VS Bettermode: The Best Community Platform For Software Companies in 2024

The aspects of a community platform that are most vital for community success

Many SaaS and software companies recognize the power of building an online community to drive their businesses forward, but what exactly do we mean when we talk about ‘community’? Before we start comparing these different platforms, it is a must to be clear about for which use case we are comparing the platforms. For SaaS and software companies, there are two possible use cases of ‘community’. First, a ‘community of practice’ about a specific niche or segment with the goal of attracting your target audience in this community to increase user acquisition. Second, a ‘customer community’ that is centered around your product or brand, and is focused on reducing customer churn and customer support costs.


In this comparison we focus on the use case of a customer community environment for SaaS and software companies.

The level of ROI and benefit of a customer community environment solely depends on how much you can engage your users to be active in the customer community environment. The more active your users, the more support costs you will save and the more your churn rates will be reduced. 


With that goal in mind, we will focus this comparison on the key features and platform characteristics that are most vital for the level of engagement and activity in your customer community environment:

  1. Threads and forum structure

  2. Functionality to host and centralize other customer modules

  3. In-app integration

  4. Gamification

  5. Business impact analytics and metrics

  6. Customization of the community environment

  7. Pricing


This is also where Turf becomes a part of the equation. Turf is a customer community platform built specifically for SaaS and software companies. Made to increase the effectiveness and business impact of customer community building, our platform gives you all the tools needed to not only nurture community engagement, but also measure the direct business impact of it. 


Cant wait to launch your customer community environment? Talk to our team and get free access up to 100 community members. PS: You can launch your customer community environment with 2 clicks. No brainer, right? If not, be sure to keep reading for a comparison of the leading community forum platforms.

Threads and forum structure

The structure of the threads and forum functionality will form the basis of your community and will be the place where your users will interact and communicate with each other. Threads and forums need to be easy to use, allow post creators and moderators to pin ‘best answers’, and have the ability to create rich posts with screenshots, videos, codeblocks, and more, so your users can discuss their topics and your application, accurately and in detail.

Khoros

Khoros, designed for enterprise-focused communities, stands out as a platform frequently customized by its users with their in-house development teams. This customization allows users to build upon the platform's core, incorporating functionalities not initially provided. While Khoros boasts a functional forum structure at its core, it lacks an integral thread system within posts, leading to confusion about whether a comment is new or a response to an existing one. This deficiency creates friction for members seeking active engagement in community discussions. Despite the 'Reply' option, posted responses appear indistinguishable from entirely new comments, complicating the understanding of ongoing discussions. Khoros does permit users to express appreciation through 'Kudos,' indicated by a thumbs-up icon. Additionally, it features a decent rich text editor enabling the creation of posts with customized formatting, styling, images, videos, and lists. However, the editor falls short by not supporting code boxes, making it less advanced compared to other platforms under review. Notably absent in Khoros (like in many other platforms that have been reviewed) is the ability to upvote and downvote posts and comments, crucial for optimizing content feeds by showcasing the most valuable posts prominently. Downvotes serve as a valuable indicator of less valuable content, guiding members toward creating content that is more likely to be regarded as valuable over time. Although Khoros allows the marking of comments as 'best answer,' providing a direct solution for members with similar questions, the placement of such marked comments is not at the top of the list but is highlighted with green accents. At last, Khoros facilitates the sharing of forum posts on major social platforms, extending the community's reach beyond its immediate environment.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) has a good but basic forum structure. It is missing a thread system where you can directly comment on a comment, which makes it difficult to understand if a comment is a new comment or if the comment is a reply on a previous comment. The downside of this is that it will lead to friction when members want to participate in conversations, because it is hard for them to understand which discussions are actually taking place. Besides that they have a great rich text editor that can be used when creating posts and comments, allowing members to effectively add images, videos, codeblocks, lists, and more. Tribe (Bettermode) its forum does allow members to upvote, but not downvote. In this scenario upvoting a post is an alternative to liking a post. The downside of not being able to downvote posts and comments as well is that members do not get a sense of what types of posts or content are considered not valuable, only what is valuable. By also showcasing what types of posts and content are considered not valuable, you can speed up the guiding process of getting members to create more content that gets regarded as valuable. Also, post creators or community moderators can mark a comment on a post as ‘Best answer’ or pin a comment at the top. At last, Bettermode has great and detailed sharing functionality for posts on your forum. You can directly share them on the majority of big social platforms as well as embed posts through HTML code, in for example your website or blog.

Turf

Turf has a good thread and forum structure. The thread system in Turf allows members to directly get an overview of which conversations are taking place, by displaying each comment and comment on comments in its own block. It is easy to use and comes with a detailed rich text editor that can be used when creating new posts as well as when creating comments. The rich text editor allows members to create posts and comments with images, videos, codeblocks, lists, headings, and more. Turf its forum allows members to upvote and downvote, posts and comments. This way members will get a more detailed sense of what types of posts and content are valuable, but also what types of posts and content are considered not valuable. This will speed up the guiding process of getting members to create more content that gets regarded as valuable. Also, post creators and community moderators are able to mark a comment on a post as ‘Best answer’ or pin a comment at the top. This way other members that have a similar question and find this post/thread by typing their question in the search bar, will directly see the correct answer to their question at the top, instead of having to look through all the comments on the post. At last, Turf allows your members to mark posts and threads as ‘This has helped me’ and you can share posts and threads from your forum directly on the majority of big social platforms.

Functionality to host and centralize other customer modules

This might be the most important factor in cultivating user engagement and activity in your customer community environment. Centralizing other customer modules such as knowledge base, help center, roadmap communication, product feedback, changelogs, bug reporting, feature requests, help desk, academy, technical documentation, and online events, in your customer community environment directly increases activity in your customer community. By doing this, you are giving your users consistent incentives to come back to your customer community environment. Your users will have to go to your customer community environment for almost all actions that they want to perform and at the same time will be exposed to all the other modules located there. This doesn't only increase activity in the community, but also increases usage of all other individual modules that are being centralized there.

Khoros

As mentioned before, Khoros is focused on community for enterprise companies (all enteprise business, so not SaaS enteprises specifically). Khoros works with different modules that you can add (with additional cost) to your core community platform. Khoros allows you to host and centralize your knowledge base, ideation, and other resource-based modules like academy and product courses. Besides this you can customize your community environment and integrate other existing customer modules that will remain hosted on a third-party. Because of their general focus, Khoros is not actively taking into account the existing ecosystem of customer modules that the average SaaS company has and their community environment needs to seamlessly work with. Khoros is missing key functionality to natively host your technical documentation, roadmap display & communication, bug reporting, and feature requests.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) is a community platform focused on building any type of customer community, with the goal of improving the customer experience. Tribe (Bettermode) allows you to host and centralize your knowledge base, help center, roadmap communication, product feedback, changelogs, feature requests, academy (resources/courses), online events, and a job board. The platform does a great job of centralizing the majority of other customer modules in your customer community environment, but is missing key functionality to be able to also host your technical documentation, and natively host your help desk (direct support) channels. Note that Tribe is not specifically focused on SaaS and software companies, but targets a wide range of companies looking to build a customer community.

Turf

Turf is a customer community platform specifically focused on SaaS and software companies building a customer community. The platform is centered around reducing support costs and customer churn for the company. Turf allows you to host and centralize your knowledge base, help center, roadmap communication, product feedback, changelogs, bug reporting, feature requests, help desk, academy, technical documentation, and online event management. Turf allows you to host and centralize the entirety of other customer facing modules that SaaS and software companies might have - making your customer community environment the single meetpoint for your users and increasing the usage of each module as a result.

In-app integration

An in-app integration of your customer community environment, means that your users can access and interact with your community from within your SaaS application or software. The crucial thing to understand is that your users want to be active in your customer community when they are using your tool in real-time or when they have just used your tool. Therefore, activity in your customer community environment is significantly higher when your users can interact with and participate in your customer community from within your application.

Khoros

At it's core offerings, Khoros does not allow you to fully embed your community environment in your SaaS application. This means that your users can not use or interact with your community from within your SaaS application, at the time of writing this article. However, Khoros does allow you to embed content from your community in other places like your website, socials, and blog.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) allows you to embed the social parts of your community into your website, web app, or mobile app. They do this through a method that makes it look like those social parts of your community are an integral part of the web app, website, or mobile app. Note that you will have to create new dedicated pages/areas for this in your application or website, which makes it more developer intensive.

Turf

Turf allows you to embed your customer community environment in your SaaS application, software, or website, with an embeddable widget. Through this widget, your entire customer community environment is viewable and interactable. What is being displayed in the widget is customizable, so you can decide to either only display certain modules of your community in the widget or display the entire customer community environment in the widget. The Turf widget also comes with a chatbot that is trained on user behavior inside your SaaS or software and on the community activity & content. The widget gets installed with a simple code snippet that gets added to the pages where you want the widget to be displayed.

Gamification

A gamification engine is one of the simplest ways to directly engage your community members. The gamification engine in a community should empower your super users, users who are posting valuable content, and other users that are performing ideal behaviour, while still involving and incentivizing your average community members and users.

Khoros

Khoros offers gamification in their community platform through social reputation based on your community activity, leaderboards, badges, and priviliges based on these rankings and statusses. Khoros badges can be assigned automatically through triggers and you can manually assign new badges. Badges can be customized and leaderboards can be created for different use cases. For example, you can create different leaderboards for different subgroups of your community, or for different ideal behaviours that you want your members to perform. Khoros leaderboards can display your entire member list in a ranking based on their activity in the community. This is great because it triggers not only the top 10 or top 20 members of your community, but engages all your community members by giving them a specific ranking.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) offers gamification in their community platform through leaderboards and badges. Their leaderboards can be displayed per week, month, and over all time. Their badges can be assigned automatically through certain triggers and you can manually create new badges.

Turf

Turf offers a gamification engine that is driven by a voting system. Members can upvote and downvote all posts, comments, and resources in your community. Members get assigned a vote count based on the upvotes and downvotes that they have gotten over all their posts, comments, and other contributions to the community. The members in your community that are in the top 5% of members with the highest vote count get the label ‘Expert’ which is identified by a blue border around their profile picture, and have an increased weight of their votes by 4X. The members in your community that are in the next 15% of members with the highest vote count get the label ‘Senior’ which is identified by a green border around their profile picture, and have an increased weight of their votes by 2X. By giving these members increased weights with their votes, members that have proven knowledge and made valuable contributions to the community (according to all other members) will have a bigger influence in deciding what else is valuable or not valuable for the community. This system creates an autonomous improvement loop of the quality and value of content in your community and will make sure that your community will stay relevant and valuable over time. Besides that, Turf also has leaderboards and they allow you to create and assign badges. You can fully customize your badges and upload a specific design for your badges.

Business impact analytics and metrics

Obviously you want to be able to get insights into how your community is performing based on activity and engagement metrics, but what about the effect of your community on key business objectives (for which you launch the initiative in the first place) such as change in customer lifetime value, churn rates, support costs, customer engagement, NPS scores, and more. This is key in understanding the effect and ROI of your customer community initiative.

Khoros

Khoros provides the must have community activity and engagement analytics, as well as crucial business impact analytics. The Khoros analytics dashboard stands out compared to other non-SaaS enterprise vendors, because of their metrics focused on community business impact. Besides the usual metrics like page views, visitors, posts creations, discussions, etc. Khoros also gives you great direct insight in the number of saved support costs as well as the increased CLV of customers that are a community member. These metrics are mostly focused on support case deflection and saved support costs, but even having the option to view some CLV impact and other more general customer experience metrics is a great step forward compared to other community vendors that are also focused on the bigger companies.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) offers all the required activity and insight analytics such as member count, page views, visits, and popular community posts, but does not provide any business impact analytics. This makes it very hard for companies to understand and calculate the impact of their customer community initiative on key business objectives and understand wether the initiative is outweighing it’s costs in the first place.

Turf

Turf offers all the needed activity and insight analytics such as member count, page views, visitor metrics, the most active days and timeframes in the community, and popular community posts, in addition to the business impact analytics that you need to effectively understand the ROI and impact of your customer community initiative on key business objectives. Through your Turf analytics dashboard, you get direct insight into how many support cases were deflected through the community, how many support costs were saved, the customer churn rate of customers who were a community member, the customer lifetime value of customer who are a community member, and the total added customer lifetime value through the community (comparing the CLV of customers that are a community member VS the CLV of customers that are not a community member). This allows you to easily calculate the ROI of your customer community initiative and see what impact it is having on your key business objectives.

Customization of the community environment

Branding your customer community environment is key in making your community a part of your existing ecosystem. The ability to customize the structure, categories, and logos will help with increasing the ease of use for your specific userbase, will make the member onboarding process as frictionless as possible, and will further attach the value that your users are getting from the community, to your brand.

Khoros

A community environment built with Khoros can be fully customized with a no-code editor. You can fully brand your community with your own logos, colours, typography, and customize pages in your community based on building blocks with different use cases. This is very similar to the other enterprise focused community platforms. As mentioned before, you can also override the basic structure of the platform by building out your own community experience with your dev team, on top of the core of the platform provided by Khoros through page and component libraries. This is where Khoros stands out from the other community platforms focused on enterprises and makes it possible for you to edit or change the community experience to whatever you want it to be. This high customizability especially suits bigger enterprise companies with a lot of available resources, since building your community environment out with your own team obviously brings additional costs on top of what you're paying the Khoros platform.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) allows for in-depth customization through custom categorization of your community environment with spaces and blocks, a customizable home page for your community, the ability to adjust colors and typography, the ability to adjust settings for fields in member profiles, the ability to customize the structure of the header, and the ability to add your own custom domain. You can also add your own logo’s and correctly brand your community environment.

Turf

Turf allows you to fully customize your customer community environment through custom categorization with tabs and channels, the ability to create private channels, your own logo’s, the ability to edit the structure of the side menu in your community, the ability to create custom badges, and the ability to add custom image banners to every page in your customer community environment so you are completely in charge of the look and feel of your community. Your customer community environment will also be hosted on your own custom domain.

Pricing

Nobody wants to invest too much cash upfront when the outcome of the initiative is not yet set in stone. Then how much should such a customer community platform cost? It should vary based on your company and user base size and should be directly attached to the ROI that you are getting from the initiative.

Khoros

Details regarding the pricing structures for Khoros Communities are not publicly disclosed and require direct contact with the vendor. However, it is widely known that Khoros is one of the most expensive community platform providers, with subscription fees generally exceeding 100,000 USD annually. As mentioned earlier in this review, this pricing is for the core out of the box functionalities and if you want to further customize your environment to make it suit your needs there might be additional costs for your in-house development team to realize this.

Bettermode (Tribe)

Tribe (Bettermode) offers a 14-day free trial and has 2 susbcription plans. Both the Bettermode Advanced plan and the Bettermode Enterprise plan work with custom pricing and you can only purchase them or start your free trial by talking to the sales team and getting a demo first. The Bettermode Advanced plan starts from $599 per month and offers you all their features except enterprise-grade security, data residency, audit and activity logs, Uptime SLA, SAML authentication for SSO, and a master service agreement. The Bettermode Enterprise plan does not give an indication about what the base pricing is and gives you access to all their features and modules.

Turf

Turf offers 3 different subscription plans and each plan has a free trial of 14 days. The Turf subscription plans are differentiated almost solely based on the number of admin/moderator seats. After signing up, you can directly launch your customer community environment, without talking to the team. The 14-day free trial allows you to get familiar with the platform, start structuring your community, and invite your super users to get feedback on the experience, before committing to the platform. The Turf Starter plan of $95 per month gives you access to all their features, except the custom SSO functionality, custom domain functionality, and custom integrations that you might be in need of. Note that you do get access to a suite of standard integrations that have already been built. The plan allows you to build your customer community environment with 1 admin and moderator seat and allows for up to 250 community members. The Turf Premium plan of $195 per month gives you access to the same features as the Starter plan, but has unlimited members and allows you to build your customer community environment with 2 admin and moderator seats. Lastly, the Turf Pro plan of $395 is the same as the Premium plan in that it also allows for unlimited members, but in addition, you get 4 admin and moderator seats, custom domain functionality, and custom SSO. If you need more moderator seats, or other custom integrations, Turf also works with a custom plan where you can schedule a call with their team to communicate your needs and they can offer you a custom pricing.

Conclusion

Khoros is focused on enterprise in general (not specifically software or SaaS companies) and because of their pricing, completely excludes other software companies that are not on an enterprise level. Besides their pricing, Khoros is also missing some key features that would allow software companies to maximize user activity in the community and the ability to measure the business impact of their customer community initiative. Even for enterprise software companies looking for a customer community platform, Bettermode (Tribe) or Turf would be a better option based on this review.


That leaves us with Bettermode (Tribe) and Turf. Both are focused on customer communities, but Turf takes the extra step by solely being focused on accommodating customer communities for SaaS and software companies. Side-by-side we can see how this translates into a more tailored platform for SaaS and software companies:


Functionality to host and centralize other customer modules:


Turf: Offers complete functionality to host and centralize the entirety of customer modules critical for the customer journey for SaaS and software companies, creating a unified user experience.


Bettermode (Tribe): Provides good functionality to host and centralize the majority of customer modules but is missing some core functionality for customer modules in SaaS and software companies, such technical documentation.



In-App Integration:


Turf: Excels with a seamless in-app integration through an embeddable widget for higher user engagement.


Bettermode (Tribe): Supports embedding but may require more developer-intensive processes to actually embed the community environment.



Gamification Engine:


Turf: Provides a comprehensive gamification engine with a voting system, leaderboards, and customizable badges.


Bettermode (Tribe): Offers gamification through leaderboards and badges but lacks a detailed voting system.



Insightful Business Impact Analytics:


Turf: Goes beyond community activity metrics, offering business impact analytics crucial for measuring the ROI and effect of the customer community initiative on key strategic business goals.


Bettermode (Tribe): Provides activity insights but lacks business impact analytics.



Customization and Branding:


Turf: Allows extensive customization, ensuring the community seamlessly integrates with the brand.


Bettermode (Tribe): Offers in-depth customization that matches the level of customization that Turf is offering.



Pricing:


Turf: Transparent, flexible, and has a free trial of 14 days. Starter plan at $95/month, Premium plan at $195/month, and the Pro plan at $395/month. Custom pricing for enterprises or special requirements.


Bettermode (Tribe): Custom pricing for Advanced and Enterprise plans, starting from $599/month. Exact details not disclosed.


In summary, Turf emerges as the superior choice due to its specialized focus, comprehensive functionality to host and centralize all your customer modules, seamless in-app integration, robust gamification, insightful analytics, and extensive customization options tailored to the specific needs of SaaS and software companies.

The step-by-step launching guide for SaaS customer communities

Ensure a successful launch of your customer community, by following this step-by-step launching guide.

The step-by-step launching guide for SaaS customer communities

Ensure a successful launch of your customer community, by following this step-by-step launching guide.

The step-by-step launching guide for SaaS customer communities

Ensure a successful launch of your customer community, by following this step-by-step launching guide.