Entry submitted by: Claudius Henrichs (Claudius) Community Manager
Community: Skype Community (community.skype.com)
Lithy category: Best Business ROI
Skype’s peer-to-peer community improves 1st contact resolution to 70% and reduces support cost by 10%
What happens if you flip on all switches for “Community” and put the spotlight on a previously hidden tech support forum? Skype did just that and turned it into a vibrant location for exchange around everything Skype, resulting in 1 st contact resolution at 70% and reduction of company-wide support costs by 10%. On top of that we discovered that community members are 30% more likely to use long-term subscriptions, connect on more platforms and show double usage of paid minutes.
With more than 200 million connected customers every month, Skype cannot rely on traditional, resource-intensive methods of customer support alone. Reflecting their truly global product Skype launched the community in ten languages to offer answers on new and trending support questions faster and deliver them on a more direct channel. The landing page was designed to showcase the various language communities and the current activities and hot topics. Members appreciated the fact that they could exchange in their language and had experts covering all time zones around the world. To drive direct exchange with their customers on product improvements, Skype launched #SkypeTalks live events where questions were streamed into a dedicated community board and Twitter and were replied by product managers inside Skype. This helped prioritize the developments sprints through the insight gained and gave users a very rewarding feedback experience.
Additionally Skype aimed at improving the capabilities of listening to its users through open discussions. Turning the previously used tech discussion forum to a real user community proved the answer to both demands. The community is looked after by a team of 30 moderators, both volunteer and Skype staff, and a team of 16 dedicated Super Users, expert users that like to share their knowledge and help other Skype users. The Skype Support Network community is offering support and discussions for the whole range of Skype products, from desktop via mobile to the living room. Within our first year already more than 400,000 individual topics have been replied on.
Making the community a place you wanted to stay and return to was Skype’s primary goal. To that end, Skype came up with several programs to reward their most engaged visitors. The Community News highlights weekly activity, discussions and user participation. Eventually the community helped Skype identify and resolve new product issues within 24 hours of a product launch that would normally have taken days to identify. Upon launch of a new product for the Android platform, the community compiled a list of problematic devices that prohibited them from using video calling. Armed with this critical feedback, Skype was able to issue a hotfix within days after the initial launch.
Another goal was to offer answers on new and trending support questions faster and deliver them on a more direct channel. Skype accomplished this by integrating the most helpful peer-submitted content called “Accepted Solutions” with related topics from their knowledge base to be prominently displayed on the Skype Support page. A category-based selection logic ensures that related topics are pulled from the correct community boards.
The Lithium-powered community is thriving with passionate users who share their expert knowledge and creative solutions on using Skype products.
Community helped Skype identify and resolve new product issues within 24 hours of launch that normally would have taken days.
First contact resolution at 70% for 5 millions users/month
10% reduction in traditional support costs
Community members are 30% more likely to use long-term subscriptions, connect on more platforms and show double usage of paid minutes
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Entry submitted by: Ashish Seth (ashcool) Cloudsquads CEO and Founder
Community: YouSendIt Community (support.yousendit.com)
Lithy category: Best Business ROI
At YouSendIt, our #1 goal as an organization is customer satisfaction. Prior to deploying Lithium, we did not offer any support to our free users. With Lithium, we now have various ways to provide support to free users. This results in customer retention and increased brand equity because their positive experience propels them to recommend us to other users or pitch us in enterprise conversations.
The rate of support calls that come to our team should be lower than the rate of our company’s growth - basically call deflection is very important. In 2011, case volume growth was 4% per month. Lithium was implemented by Lithium partner, Cloudsquads, in December 2011, and in 2012, the case growth rate was decreased to 2.5% a month. Customers want to get their answer quickly and efficiently. Call deflection is good for the customer too as it gets them the answer they want quickly and the way they want it. When we rolled out, we saw a immediate 20% drop in call volume simply due to the much improved self-help options. Phone calls are the most expensive support ticket to take, and we were able to take what could have been a 20% cost savings and reinvest into delivering an even better support experience, which translates to more product virality and higher lifetime value of our customers.
Since our deployment of Lithium and some of the customizations that CloudSquads has made, we’ve been able to significantly slow the incoming rate of new cases, and in turn manage the many costs associated with scaling our call center, while at the same time meeting our #1 objective of delivering an exceptional customer experience.
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Company: A1 Telekom Austria AG
Entry submitted by: Claudia Religa (viktoria) Community Manager
Community: A1 Support Community (a1.community.net)
Lithy category: Best Business ROI
In a rather small country like Austria with a population of 8.4 million people, A1 is the unique leading telecommunication provider with 5.2 million mobile and 2.3 million fixed subscribers.
We claim the top position in terms of technology, so our mission is also to advance service innovation.
More than one year after launching our community it’s time to take a look at the benefits we gained from it. We had an average extraordinary 270% growth rate on requests since the start.
To generate our Real Substitution value we integrated a randomized onsite survey on our website (www.a1.net). It pops up for community users after some time of activity. To get a valid outcome the number of cases is exceeding 300 every month and the respondent gets the survey only once every three months.
The Real Substitution rate shows how many of our users come to visit the community without contacting any other service channel we offer – in other words: how many users perceive the community as primary service channel. Additionally we measure if community visitors find a solution for their problem in the A1 Support Community.
For 2012 we reached an amazing Real Substitution value of 25%! That sums up to 168,000 Saved Interactions in one year whereupon only posts and search requests count as interactions in the A1 Support Community. A remarkable 26% of community users found their solution in the first minutes of their visit.
Especially in the field of crisis communication we were able to prevent a shitstorm by actively informing our customers about tariff changes and keeping the protest wave to a minimum. In four months we attained 60,000 contacts on the board that has been set up especially for this task.
Increasing Customer satisfaction and Growing Loyalty
With our special customer loyalty program we offer low smartphone prices for our community users on a monthly basis. Our logged-in members are able to accept the offers directly in the relevant boards.
To increase customer satisfaction we already involve our Super Users in service and product development processes to guarantee the best outcome for us and our customers. This year we launched the new self service are on our website where we used this co-creation approach.
To generate leads we organize competitions that are cross and deep linked through all of our social media channels. An example is our Sony Xperia go outdoor smartphone test where our users got the chance to design the screenplay with us and win a device. The success of over 1 million views on YouTube proves us right!
To sum it up: Community activities push the Digital Service Shift
80% Crowd Ratio (Crowd Ratio = percentage of user-generated content) – thereof 20% is created by our most active users
Reduction of development and beta testing expenses
Lead generation due to our customer loyalty program
Real Substitution value of 25%, call reduction – up to 16,000 reduced Support calls and emails per month
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Company: Joe Mobile
Entry submitted by: Laurent Partouche (lpartouche) Community Manager
Community: Joe Community (communaute.joemobile.fr)
Lithy category: Best New Community
Joe is a new kind of Mobile operator. Real-time, full control over your budget, Joe allows you to finally take control of your phone plan.
Joe is also community-based. It means that the community is at the heart of its business model and allows for very lean operation when it comes to customer support.
Obviously it is easier to achieve this result when it's in your DNA right from the start rather than switching from a regular business model to a cooperative one.
That being said, it might have failed and we could have been flooded with support requests from angry users dying to find an answer to their legitimate questions. Fortunately this has not happened, in fact it's quite the opposite since with a satisfaction rate of 92% and an NPS score of 44 just two months after the start of our operations, our customers seems to be quite happy with their customer experience.
Let's dive into some numbers.
There are 3 ways to find an answer with Joe :
1) Search the community. Chances are your question has already been asked, but also already answered. With 80K searches since the community started, this seems to be the preferred and most effective way to find your answer.
2) Open a topic : 3K new topics have been opened in the Help sections of the community (I voluntarily left out the "Café" section dedicated to off- topic discussions).
3) Fill out a support form : 2.5K have been opened so far. These are treated by our support agents via a dedicated channel and depending on the difficulty, are escalated to Level 3 support.
So how much have we saved ?
Again this is hard to tell since we have no prior comparison point. What we can say however is this :
We have to first make an assumption on the efficiency of the search tool. Let's say, that only 10% of searches guides the customer to the answer he is looking for (we think it is a conservative number when we look at the search terms that are most used). If we assume this hypothesis to be true, that's 8K support "cases" (10% of 80,000 searches) that would get solved without any further interaction with either the community or our support staff.
All in all, this would mean that, out of the 13.5K support cases that you get if you add up 10% of the search to new topics and support forms, only 18.5% of those cases incur a direct cost for Joe (the support staff). That would be quite a compelling result in our opinion and truth is that we have not been forced to hire more support agents so those figure seems to be spot on.
Of course you should take into considerations all the efforts and staff needed to make sure that the community is indeed active and effective but in the long run, it will be more effective to have a few community managers rather than line up support agents that solve cases one by one.
One last takeaway. The community can handle the first level of support effectively because our system is simple and transparent. We don't have the burden of legacy IT or aging tariff plans. That allows the community, in most cases, to know the answers. We have worked a lot to have a simple process and make most information available directly to the customer via self-service. The best way to cut costs on support costs is to take away the root cause of calls.
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Entry Submitted by: Vincent Boon Head of Community (Vincent)
Community: giffgaff (http://community.giffgaff.com/)
Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience, Best Community ROI
'giffgaff’ is an old Scottish term referring to the process of mutual giving – the perfect name for a company whose passionate and knowledgeable members are not only the front line of customer support but also a driving force in the running of the company itself. In fact, our tag line is ‘The mobile network run by you’.
We don’t do large call centres and we don’t do big budget advertising. Instead, we rely on our growing user-generated pool of knowledge that is our community, where people get help fast and where customer debate and discussions helps us shape and grow the business. And using this community-based model saves costs and ensures giffgaff is outperforming month-after-month across a wide variety of metrics, from traffic to active members.
Our customers are so helpful we do not need a traditional customer service centre, but use our community support forums instead. Saving us the cost and overheads of traditional CS.
Although giffgaff saves a lot of costs by not having a traditional customer service model, the quality of service is still a high priority, which is reflected in a recent customer satisfaction survey, where our members rated our customer service 9/10 and our Net Promoter score was 73% (in context, according to the NPS website, Google rates as 73% and Apple as 74%).
giffgaff's Community Health Index is 877, which puts giffgaff as a leader when compared to all communities globally serviced by Lithium.
We are seeing these types of results through a combination of programmes we run here with the community, which ensures that any question asked on the community is answered within 90 seconds on average.
But not only does our community help by answering peoples specific questions, we can see 8% of all page views going directly to an accepted solution, guaranteeing a great many call deflections.
With our highly-engaged community, we create a huge volume of content, which gets picked up in search engines, driving more and more traffic to our site. So much so, that we can see 30% of all organic traffic going straight into our community and finding answers to questions they didn’t even know they had!
Of course, just like any other business we look at the retention rates in our business and are able to see the following amazing results over a running twelve month period:
People who’ve received payback are 52% more likely to stay with the network
People who’ve activated a friend are 35% more likely to stay with the network
People who’ve posted on the forum are 31% more likely to stay with the network
People with more than 5 page views are 41% more likely to stay with the network
Through our community we use a 'member get member' program, which enables people to bring new customers to our business and we are extremely successful with this, ensuring our existing members bring in much more than 25% of our total new customers.
There are as many people who participate in ‘member get member’ activity on our forums as there are not. However, those people who are involved on our forums are twice as likely to bring on a friend. Our members are helping us out with marketing, sales, development, creating anything from marketing materials, to handing out our product to developing mobile applications for us.
In terms of developing the business we use a dedicated Ideas Board, with over 6,000 ideas and more than 50,000 comments and on average an implementation of 1 idea every 3 days.
giffgaff's mutual model paves the way for a new generation of social brands, which provide real consumer value through embracing the passions and skills of their membership communities, whilst growing an army of loyal advocates in the process.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoy all the various great things we do with our community.
Without them, giffgaff would be nowhere.
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Entry Submitted by: Claudius Henrichs (Claudius) Community Manager
Community: Skype Support Network (community.skype.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Business ROI, Best Global Implementation
The Skype Support Network, launched in June 2011, is Skype’s peer-to-peer support community and provides a direct channel for feedback and exchange between our users and product teams.
What happens if you flip on all switches “Community” and put the spotlight on a previously hidden tech support forum? We did just that and turned it into a vibrant location for exchange around everything Skype. Within just over 7 months page views skyrocketed and have more than doubled. A highly engaged, dedicated user base presented with the right tools utilize them every day now to improve theirs and other’s Skype experience.
Several aspects lead to the huge success – both outside and inside the company – of this project, each itself worth highlighting.
Best Global Implementation
Reflecting our truly global product we launched the community in eight languages. The landing page was designed to showcase our language communities and the latest activities and hot topics in each of those. Our visitors appreciated the fact that they could exchange in their language and within days we had Super Users covering all time zones around the world
Best Social Customer Experience Program
Making the community a place you wanted to stay and return to was our primary goal. That’s why we came up with several programs that rewarded visitors. The Community News highlight weekly activity, discussions and user participation. The highlighted user and topic of the week invited users to stay while longer and engage in the conversation.
We are most proud about our #SkypeTalks live events: Questions raised simultanousy via a dedicated community board and Twitter were replied on by product managers inside Skype. This helped prioritize the next developments sprints through the insight gained and gave the user a very rewarding feedback experience. And in the end it raised awareness of our product features.
Eventually the community has helped us identify and resolve new product issues within 24 hours of launch that would normally have taken days. E.g. the community compiled a list of problematic devices with regards to video calling on Android. Based on that we were able to issue a hotfix within days after our initial release. This extended the list of supported devices and thereby consumer satisfaction.
Best New Community
Already the first week after the launch in June 2011 our Community Health Index passed 600 and it’s rise has not stopped yet. We have since passed a score of 700 which put us in line with other Lithium established communities that have been developing for much longer than the 7 months we did.
But the CHI is more than just a number: It reflects that our users are on average getting a reply quicker than via our own customer service. In the majority of cases even answering their question right away providing is with a first contact resolution rate of around 70%. We now engage 3 Million users per month, growing 10% month over month since last June.
Best Community Technical Implementation
Another goal of the community switch was to offer answers on new and trending support questions faster and deliver them on a more direct channel.
We achieved that by integrating helpful content (Accepted Solutions) and related topics to our existing copywriter authored knowledge base content on our Skype Support page. A category based selection logic ensures the related topics are pulled from the correct board.
It works as an additional motivational factor to our Super User: “Great to have our work surfaced to more users to get their problems solved”. Eventually this integration serves as an attractive entry point to join the community discussion with latest stats reflecting the activity taking place.
Behind the curtain we also made full use of the Single-Sign-On feature in Lithium. It is not only used for authenticating users to access with their Skype Name, but we also implemented a tight integration allowing Skype Customer Service staff to one-click quickly check back office user data for cases escalated from the community. The sleek integration ensured the feature to be attractive in everyday use.
Best Business ROI
Best of all we were pleased to see a 10% reduction in our traditional support costs through reduced number of contacts that we could relate to the introduction of the new Lithium community platform. Much harder to quantify but definitely present are the revenue improvements gained from the increased customer satisfaction through the product improvements we could introduce based on the community feedback. Compared to previous methods if gathering feedback (e.g. through web based forms) the round trip time is much shorter and we can react quicker.
Best SuperFan Story or Insight
In the end the whole community stands or falls with our dedicated Super Users sharing their expert knowledge and creative solutions on using our products. They have spent 1½ years online time on their community while it had not even had it’s own birthday yet. During that time they contributed 14% of all content including 38% of the very valuable accepted solutions. As a token of appreciation we highlighted five of them in our end of year awards on our Community news blog with a short interview and portrait.
Our stellar Super User goes by the nickname “TheUberOverLord”, is a self-proclaimed “White Hat” computer expert and contributed 5% of all posts since the launch. His engagement inspired several other users to become engaged and eventually Super users as well.
I want to close with inviting you all to our community and taking this opportunity to thank our community members for their passion and engagement that makes this such a success. We are entering this award as a way of saying thanks to our Super Users!
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Entry Submitted by: Brian Kling
Program Manager, Community & Social Media (bkling)
Community: Autodesk Discussion Groups ( http://forums.autodesk.com )
Lithy Categories: Best Business ROI, Best Community Technical Implementation
Autodesk has actually had online “discussion groups” for more than 15 years – remember Compuserve?! In June of 2010 we migrated to the Lithium platform. Because we already have a well-established community, our focus has been on optimizing our Support and Service participation, getting our organization participate in a sustained manner and to evangelize to our internal business groups how much value this thriving community provides.
The Technology Integration Angle
One of our major efforts achieved last year was to answer the question “how do you keep a community open to all customers, but yet provide an enhanced level of customer service to those customers that have paid for an annual Subscription Contract?”
Our solution was to integrate the Lithium platform with our CRM platform (Salesforce).
The key components are:
Identify Subscription Customers – this was achieved when we migrated, but using our own SSO and authenticating against our CRM for Subscription Entitlement. Internally we can see who has an entitlement, and even what level they are on, and a proper role is auto-assigned. This authentication occurs every time at login.
Offer enhanced service – this boiled down to four escalation methods:
Automated “No Reply” - A question authored by a Subscription Customer is monitored; if no first Reply is received after 24 hours, a linked case is created in Salesforce and routed to the appropriate support queue.
Automated “No Solution” – A question authored by a Subscription Customer that has no further Replies for 48 hours and no Accepted Solutions marked will be escalated into Salesforce to determine if help is needed. An email is sent to customer asking if they need our help, if yes, then case is routed to appropriate support queue.
Manual by Author – Premium level Subscription customers have a “Need an Answer” button on any new question they author. They can escalate prior to the automated options above.
Manual by Autodesk - Autodesk staff can escalate any forum thread into Salesforce, for either internal collaboration, large file transfer, sensitive information, product defect tracking, Content Creation flagging, etc.
The ROI angle
Proving some ROI to your executive staff is an important part of a Community Strategy. Not all ROI’s are easy to measure, and every community really has multiple ROI’s, not just on cost, but also brand awareness, advocacy, etc. This example is just one of the many possible facets.
Our communities are mostly based on technical support questions related to our many design products. Customers paying for Subscription Contracts are welcome to come and participate in our online community, but they also have the right to come directly to our Support staff through Salesforce. As you can imagine, the cost of a technical, 1:1 interaction is vastly higher than that of a peer-to-peer interaction in an online community. For us, the calculated cost difference is 1000x – yes, one that’s one thousand!
Through SSO we can easily identify which customers posting in our online community have Subscription contracts. We also regularly survey our customers and ask if their issue was resolved in the community.
For Subscription Customers, if they had a resolution, we then ask them if they would have turned to us for 1:1 support if they hadn’t found their answer in the community. Here is a perfect opportunity to measure how many of these customers achieve a resolution to their issues without needing to come to us on a 1:1 interaction, which is a direct cost savings calculation.
For our community, in 2011 our calculated cost savings was $6.8M dollars.
This is not all about saving costs, because for lower severity issues that are common to many users, these questions are best served in a public forum where all can then find and benefit from the answers provided. Further, typically answers come faster from this vast group of community experts, who also know our products better than we do; they use them in the trenches each and every day, in many ways we can’t anticipate or model!
For both angles
At Autodesk we use Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a common indicator of customer perceived value in our interactions with them. In Product Support, we measure this in our 1:1 transactions, online communities as well as customer interactions through our partners worldwide.
Our NPS score for online communities has reached or even at times surpassed the NPS for our Silver Subscription 1:1 transactions and our partner transactions, which proves that customers do assess a high value to their online experience.
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Company: National Instruments
Entry Submitted by: Jordan Groves (jgroves) Web Project Engineer
Community: National Instruments Community (forums.ni.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Business ROI
The National Instruments Idea Exchange, which was established in June 2009, provides a quick, excellent medium of direct communication between our customers and our R&D team.
Here at National Instruments, we understand the importance of integrating co-innovation into the product design and development processes. By giving our lead users the opportunity to provide valuable feedback on our products, not only do we develop better software, but we also demonstrate to our customers that we greatly value their input.
Before the Idea Exchange was born, we first needed to determine how to best incorporate our top users into our development processes.
In order to do so, we needed to learn more about our community members. A survey of the user base returned the following information:
55% of our customers are "active" community users
There is a direct correlation between how active a customer is on the forums and how loyal he/she is to the company.
This data reaffirmed our assertion that it would be well worth the effort to pull customers into the NI software development process.
With the main focus being ease of use, National Instruments utilized the Lithium community platform and revealed the new Idea Exchange in the summer of 2009. Since then, users have submitted over 3,700 ideas – each with candid explanations of why they posted.
Our Research and Development teams monitor the board and reply directly to the customers’ requests. Over the years, the Idea Exchange has expanded to encompass eight different product boards and has received:
Over 3,700 submitted ideas (our initial goal was 500)
Over 73,600 votes on ideas
14,565 customer comments
Over 56,000 unique visitors
Additionally, the LabVIEW 2011 Beta release included 13 new features that were suggested on the Idea Exchange.
In the end, not only did the Idea Exchange alleviate many users’ frustrations by giving them a direct connection to our developers, but it also increased our productivity, as well. Our engineers now have an exact picture of which new features are most important to our customers.
By placing co-innovation as a cornerstone of the product development cycle, we have been able to produce better products.
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Entry Submitted by: Katie Chastek (ktc) Community Manager
Community: Data.com (community.jigsaw.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Business ROI
The abundance and pace of changing business data has been a long-time issue for companies who struggle to manage and keep their data clean and actionable.
With the proliferation of social data, business data management has become an increasingly important and difficult objective.
After revolutionizing CRM a decade ago, Salesforce has a history of taking on challenging industry problems. Launched last August, Salesforce’s Data.com is setting out to transform the business data industry by making data accessible in the cloud and surrounding the data assets with a strong community to provide real-time intelligence.
The Result Data.com’s 4 million member strong community launched in August and is integral to the solution’s success.
Unlike other data providers that solely rely on an algorithm to update and maintain their data assets, Data.com’s community plays an active role in maintaining data accuracy and uploading new business accounts and contacts. Ultimately, the community not only benefits from Data.com’s solution through rewards and offline events, but it also puts customers in a position to succeed.
Just how much does the community contribute?
Each month, members add over a million new contacts, allowing Data.com to grow and provide quality data to marketing and sales operations. The most dedicated community members are what Data.com labels Rainmakers and Data Defenders.
Rainmakers are Data.com’s most active users who volunteer to add and update over 500+ business data contacts. In The Corner, Rainmakers join other community members in using the community to contact other users worldwide or network to share ideas, exchange tips and best practices.
In addition to the forums, there is an Idea Exchange for members to add suggestions and ideas to improve their Data.com experience.
Data Defenders are a small group of people in the Data.com community and a part of a data quality protector program who clean records and evaluate data quality. Data Defenders are essentially the quality control leaders in the community. The group flags and graveyards stale or inaccurate data and then corrects the discrepancy – allowing Data.com to have the unique approach of combining algorithm technology with human business data smarts.
Community Collaboration = Customer Success
An example of the instant success of Data.com is illustrated through Clairmail, an enterprise-wide mobile banking and payments solution that needed to target new prospects, create a better experience for current customers and reduce time spent on chasing inaccurate data. With Data.com, Clairmail has increased dial effectiveness by 15%, closed 20% more deals and attributed 32% of their overall revenue from business data sourced from Data.com.
What is unique about Data.com for Clairmail is that the community responds in real-time. Clairmail has an advantage over competition with the most up-to-date account and contact information that allows them to find the right people at the right companies at the right time.
Salesforce's Data.com is already accomplishing what it set out to do: build a strong community around business data that allows customers to deliver effective sales and marketing campaigns that grow their businesses. And with over 4 million community members and growing, Data.com has been a tremendous success since launching just six months ago.
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Company: HP Consumer Support
Entry Submitted by: Dani Weinstein Social Media Support Manager (Dani)
Community: HP Consumer Support Forum ( http://h30434.www3.hp.com )
Lithy Categories: Best Business ROI
HP’s Consumer Support Forums have saved the company multi-millions of dollars, hundreds of millions of man-hours and – most importantly – has helped millions of customers get the most out of their HP technology. Now that’s ROI.
With more than 10 million technology support solutions recorded annually and more than 500 million page views since its launch, the HP Consumer Support Forums are a key resource for customers and HP alike. When more customers find the help and solutions they need, when and where they want and expect it, the more HP delivers best-in-class support. Community members also help HP engineers uncover product issues and improve HP technologies and products.
In 2011, three main factors led to unprecedented performance, expanded community engagement and overall vibrancy for the forums:
Global Usability Testing: HP talked with customers around the world and observed how they used the forums. With this info in hand, HP was able to better understand and make the forums more intuitive and useful for both first-time and seasoned users across the seven language forums
HP launched ForumVille, an online community enhancement program with the specific goal of optimizing the forum experience for all users. Forumville significantly increased overall response rates to questions and issues, resulting in improved community interactions, Accepted Solutions and goodwill.
After applying rigorous six sigma methodology, ForumVille deployed 13 new enhancements which have been adopted and incorporated into HP’s forums experience. Highlights include:
The HP Expert Campaign introduced a fun gaming challenge for top contributors to respond to posted threads on our least active forum boards. This game resulted in a 75% answer rate and 50% response time reduction for the low performing boards during the 2 week period.
This was an amazing way to motivate our top posters:
“Yay! I'm excited! It's nice to see something like this being done after all this time”... (Kalt)
“Great numbers! Lot of nice efforts there, guys. I am gonna have to give up my 'day job' to compete with all of you...” (CherylG)
The ‘Fall Cleaning’ Campaign for HP Community Managers – The goal of the event was to make many posts easier to find either by adding more keywords so it appears in the search results or by making the title of the post so self explanatory that customers can better identify it being a possible match for their issue.
The community managers introduced a new board specifically for forum first-timers. The board includes video tutorials as well as other tips and tricks. It continues to be one of the most widely visited boards on the forums.
HP developed a new widget displaying unanswered posts throughout the forum. The widget allows HP Experts fast and easy access to posts that need their attention most, resulting in faster response times and more satisfied customers. HP Experts responded enthusiastically :
“Having access to the posts with no replies will also be very good. It will save those of us helping from having to check every forum”. – Old Geekster
“I believe it is very useful for other member in here as well in order to monitor many forums within our expertise area more easily”. - SlomiL
“Maybe it has been there a long time but I have just noticed the "Threads with no replies" on the right side of each board and I have been using that tool regularly. This started in late September. Don't tell me the feature has been there since the beginning of time :)”
“... the single best improvement on the forum”
A new and cleaner look for the HP Support Forums: Aligning with HP company-wide web and graphics standards, the HP Consumer Support Forums pages took on a more streamlined and colorful community look and feel.
The HP Consumer Support Forums have proven to be an unmitigated success. In 2011, the forums reached 685 million net page views, including:
5.5M visits a month globally
40M customer solutions delivered
31,000 Accepted Solutions
650,000 registered customers
Among Lithium's top 250 communities, HP’s English Consumer Support Community ranks:
7th among 250 top communities overall
3rd among 110 high tech hardware and software
4th out of 150 support-oriented communities
7th among 164 B2C oriented communities
Lithium’s Consumer Health Index scores consistently rate the HP English Forum above 700
At the current growth rate, the forums will reach one billion page views around November 2012!
Thanks to savings the forums have enabled, HP is reinvesting those dollars in efforts to broaden and grow our social media experience across the world. It’s HP’s commitment to our customers to be there anytime, anywhere - to listen, engage, and help.
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Company: A1 Telekom Austria
Entry Submitted by: Claudia Religa Customer Interaction Manager (A1_Claudia)
Community: A1 Telekom (http://www.a1community.net)
Community Launch Date: 16 November 2011
Lithy Categories: Best New Community, Best Social Customer Experience Program, Best Business ROI, Best Community Technical Implementation
The A1 Telekom Support Community - A vital community for our customers
The vision for our new state of the art support community was to build a vital community for customers, available 24/7 all over the world. We see the community as a steadily growing platform, which we develop in cooperation with our users in constant game workshops. In only 40 days the community was ready to go live after a beta test with 450 postings in just three days and 16 community members providing testimonials.
We are building the community around the needs of its members – to motivate our users to help and support the community we started an incentive program:
Users are given the opportunity to customize their profiles with special signatures. We added icons that show the status of the community member – our most active users have earned VIP ranking. Ongoing improvements and changes are communicated transparently to the community users on our community events board.
A team of employees service the community. The moderators provide support when needed and brand-new information and updates on certain topics.
We take the customer feedback seriously and use it to steadily develop our services, products and solutions.Together with our super fans we developed a brand new design for our community homepage which will be implemented shortly.
We also launched the idea module - the target of the project is to develop a new concept for simplified use of the “Mein A1” page in cooperation with the support community users.
The benefits for our customers are:
the opportunity to take part in an innovation process
possible realization of user ideas
to exchange thoughts and ideas with other users
incentives for participating
How we benefit:
communication with users
interaction with the support community
identification of consumer needs
opportunity to integrate consumers into the realization process
The project itself and the output from the workshops around “Mein A1” are continually promoted on facebook and in the community.
The new A1 support community is directly linked to our A1 blog. It was created as a platform for both community members and product managers to release product news, features and tips and tricks regarding our portfolio.
The A1 blog is a category, where we can cover a lot of successful stories for interacting with customers, e.g. our popular smartphone test reports written by our community members.
Crossover Solutions for Customer Service Communication and Crowdsourcing
To guarantee the best social brand experience we are linking different channels with each other.
www.a1.net – the Lithium newsfeed on our portal
The FAQs and the company's support community are integrated via tabs onto our facebook fan page – which means: one database manages all user postings. Facebook users have access to the support community in real time to knowledge without a login.
The fictional figure “Robert Hauser” takes care of customer support on the facebook wall – behind the figure are employees from our service team, who answer user questions on any kind of topic. With 160,179 fans after starting our facebook fanpage two years ago we are ranked second in the German-speaking TELCO provider area.
By implementing our own facebook CMS, we were able to design our very own application and multimedia info sites for lotteries, promotions, company news, etc.
On YouTube, we are the only provider in Austria with a branded channel. We provide short movies about our products and solutions. We also provide inhouse produced A1 video guides. The video guide with the most views ranks around 252,508 views. For sharing YouTube videos we offer our community members a share button.
Output from our A1 blog is posted on facebook.
Our Technical Implementation
Deep Integration into Portal SSO
The A1 community has been tightly linked to the portal SSO. While it does not require you to log in as long as you’re only browsing, logging in is a requirement for all actions like posting or replying.
To enable this integration we developed a mechanism where the Lithium server would “talk” to our SSO servers “behind the curtain” to retrieve the login data of the current user. Thanks to Lithium's ability to support different channels (web, facebook, mobile) this approach works for all of these.
Deep Integration with User Data
As the community integrates with our SSO this demands that user data is maintained by the A1.net authentication systems. Thus, user data (e-mail and nickname) cannot be edited within the Lithium community but need to be managed by the A1 portal.
For this a similar mechanism to the above mentioned SSO handshake has been developed, where Lithium redirects the user to the appropriate A1.net application, and the “behind the curtains” handshake reflects any changes immediately back to the community. Again this approach works transparently for all of the available channels.
Deep Integration into A1.net look & feel
The marketing requirements demand that the community should look & feel as part of the A1.net portal, the fact that it is cloud-based should not disturb the user’s perception of a common portal experience.
The HTML framework that makes up the portal look & feel had to be the foundation of the web-based channel of the community presentation. Together with Lithium we were able to link the existing A1.net framework with the flexible HTML construct that’s provided by Lithium, successfully offering our users a continuous experience. In our service box we can also embed YouTube videos from our branded channel.
Integration of Social Media Buttons
Of course sharing of content is very important for a vital community. Therefore we implemented Social Media sharing buttons such as facebook Like, Google+, Twitter in user postings.
Our Business ROI
Since our launch on the 16th of November, 2011 the community KPIs increased steadily. Our continous online survey proofs that we are constantly saving customer support cases (email, call, letters).
Compared to our competitors A1 has the biggest and most active community in Austria.
We created a short video to highlight our A1 Social Media success story since spring last year.
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Entry Submitted by: Matthew Savage (msavage)
Community: Tagged (help.tagged.com)
Lithy Categories: Best New Community, Best Business ROI, Best Community Technical Integration
Community Launched: 26 Sept 2011
Tagged's Community, launched in late September 2011, is one of our proudest achievements of the year.
We wanted to provide our users with a venue to ask questions, crowdsource solutions, suggest ideas, report bugs and read updates about important changes to the site.
With the power of Lithium's platform and expertise, our small team of 2-3 people implemented a customized solution that supported all of those goals and integrated with a number of other systems and products.
We've organized our Community into five main areas to allow users to communicate with us and each other:
Forums- for user support and discussion
FAQs- to answer popular user questions
Ideas- to listen to user suggestions and potential improvements
Bugs- for users to report site issues and view resolution statuses
News- to broadcast information about important events and changes to our site
Integration into other systems was another key goal of this project and we've successfully leveraged Lithium to authenticate and interact with our login process, global navigation bar, games, contact form and ticketing system.
Users are logged into Lithium via SSO- all they need to do is pick a nickname and they're ready to post! They can also use our overall site nav. bar from any Lithium URL.
We've created landing pages for each of our main game titles so that players can easily access the corresponding forums, ideas, FAQs and bugs for their favorite Tagged games.
Perhaps our crowning achievement is the integration with Parature, our ticketing system. We've maintained consistent UI across on our contact form, so users have the option to jump from the Community to contact us directly. In addition, community posts that require personal support can be escalated directly to a queue in our ticketing system in 2 simple clicks! This allows our agents to respond publicly to posts or take the discussion to a private email when necessary.
This solution has vastly increased our ability to provide excellent customer support, as solutions can be provided by our agents or other members of the Community with ease.
Five month in, the stats have been amazing. In the first three weeks of February, we've averaged almost 95,000 page views/day and nearly 285,000 post views/day.
Just last week, we set our Q&A app as our default Facebook page tab and saw search metrics soar exponentially as those users also harnessed the power of our expanding body of content! Most importantly, we're glad to report that our users view over 2,000 marked solutions each day!
This sustained growth each month has been great to see and we're quite excited about future plans to engage and utilize the full arsenal of our Community as we progress.
We're incredibly proud of what we've created and hope to continue building an amazing destination for our users, developers and support agents to interact!
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