Community, mostly known in the form of forums, online message boards, are a completely different way to serve your customer. This is a public virtual space in which anyone can write anything (almost anything) and anyone can respond.
There is always a manager to a forum that can provide more professional information if needed and that makes sure that things run smoothly.
Having a forum has many advantages:
You are creating a community - people who have common interests' and that can help each other.
It's a good place for your customers to ask questions that aren't urgent and/or that they want more than one opinion.
If one of you customers has a question that was already asked and answered in the forum you can direct him/her there.
It's another way for new people to check your site and see what others think about it.
You create a lively site with things happening in it and by that attract more traffic.
As you can see there are many reasons to have a forum, I could actually go on and find more but I believe you got the point.