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Company: Sony Electronics
Entry submitted by: Doug Heavener (heavenerp) Community Manager
Community: Sony Support Community (community.sony.com)
Lithy category: Best New Community
Why should our Sony Community win the “Best New Community” Lithy Award? Well here’s just a few of the incredible things we think stand out with our community.
We get personal:
We welcome all community members by embedding a welcome video into our community from our Sony Experts. We want our community members to immediately be able to relate/bond with our community experts.
We listen to our community:
We have also embedded a monthly live webcast. These webcasts showcase Sony products and our Sony product experts. Our webcasts are geared towards our customers based on the types of questions we are seeing within the community. Our members are able to ask questions in real time and have them addressed by our product experts during the live webcasts.
We have the support of our employees:
We are taking an aggressive approach to assist our community member by having a large amount of Sony employees actively participating in the community as product experts. Our employees spend an average/minimum of 1 hour a day moderating and answering member posts. This allows us to proactively address customer’s issues in a timely manner. Whether it’s a technical post or a customer service issue, we can address the customers’ needs in real time. For example, if a post comes in addressing poor customer service, our product experts will immediately escalate those post to our community relations team to handle. This has proven to be an effective way to keep issues from blowing up within the community. …. This is our way of trying to stay ahead of our customers and actively.
We showcase our expertise:
We are using Sony Heritage for our upcoming Sony expert bios. Our current product experts that we have participating in the community have an average of 15 years of service with Sony. The amount of knowledge our employees have is incredible. You can say we’ve grown up with Sony products, have seen the technology grow and the products evolve to what they are today. But we still remember the first Walkman, first CD player, seen the technology Are our Sony Heritage goes beyond us…… to our parents, our grandparents, those who owned the first Sony TV, the first Transistor Radio, the first Walkman, etc. Our Sony heritage is strong. We’ve witnessed leaps and bounds in the evolution of our products and technology and we are all ready to share the knowledge we possess with our customers.
We get results:
Our Search Engine Optimization using Google has increased to an incredible 490K. Our metrics continue to grow and have moved steady upward showing positive results. Lithium is one of the best customer service tools. None of them can even compare to the potential that the Sony Community brings to our customer service world. I can truly say, I have never been so excited about a customer service tool as I am about the Sony Community. It is an amazing tool that will change the way we do customer service forever!
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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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Entry submitted by: Patricia DiPasquale (pmdCanon) Sr. Manager, Internet Marketing
Community: Canon Forum (forums.usa.canon.com)
Lithy category: Best New Community
The Canon Forum has been a long time in the making. Not being permitted to respond on other forums, we wanted one of our own, although the risk factor was high since it would be living on a Canon property. Our risk mitigation plans had to be spot-on and accepted by executive management, as well by the Canon Call Center since they would ultimately be responsible for moderation. After great success with our Facebook launch, we knew the community would appreciate a forum hosted by Canon, and we were proven right.
Going with best practices, our Web Intelligence team scoured the web for active, positive, passionate Canon advocates to participate in the beta release. All who were invited were excited to be a part of the launch, with one gentleman making his way out from the wilderness to find a signal in order to respond.
We gained a great deal of valuable insight from these Pioneers—as we have tagged them—from functional issues to suggestions as well as asking what was to be expected from a Canon Forum… both how Canon would participate and what the members would be able to discuss. The Canon Community is vocal and passionate, leaving us to walk a fine line between providing information when possible and remaining quiet when it would otherwise spiral out of control.
The Forum was implemented to provide both a place for these passionate Canon fans to congregate with like-minded people as well as allowing Canon to hear the voice of the customer, meaning, hearing firsthand what people were saying. We want to know the good, the bad and the ugly so that we can learn from it.
Our initial marketing plan included a post to Facebook, a press release and an email to our over 2MM person email list.
However, the spike in registrations we saw after the Facebook post (1) and Press Release (2) went viral (over 1,000 registrations in a single day!), caused us to postpone our email plans. Our Call Center was just beginning to get acclimated to this new platform, and feared that the email might be too successful and overextend their resources.
The Canon Forum was launched publicly on November 5, 2012 and since then we have accumulated over 5,100 registered users and have over 2.8MM page views. Of those registered users, almost half are Contributors, with less than 1% of the Contributors (17 members) providing 27% of the content. The Community Health Index (CHI) score is a respectable 525.
*Top 17 are comprised of Frequent, Super and Valued Contributors
As of March 10, 2013, the stats are as follows:
Just recently, two of our members became Super Contributors and another became a Valued Contributor, rank levels 9 & 10, respectively. They have 778 posts, 17,068 page views, 224 kudos received, and 22 accepted solutions between them. And this was in a just under four months time.
We went from 5 boards to 16 boards in a matter of weeks. As expected, the Camera board grew the quickest, first splitting into three boards and soon thereafter splitting into the seven separate boards that it is now.
Our moderation rules are such that Canon will not respond for at least 48 hours, unless it is something that cannot be answered by the community, such as a warranty question. But when it’s a question of quality, it is the Canon way to be quiet until a full review has been completed by the parent company (Canon Inc.), which is something we know isn’t acceptable in the social arena. It didn’t take long before an issue bubbled up from other forums and an investigation began in earnest.
First we responded by saying only that we got the message, but once the issue was determined, details of the cause were revealed and that a firmware update would be released as soon as it was ready. The community was ecstatic—even though the solution wasn’t ready to go—and the thanks came pouring in no sooner we announced that a fix was in the works… 25 minutes to be exact!
This occurrence has made it crystal clear to executive management that the Community is beneficial, even when the news isn’t good. We are working out faster response times that will benefit both Canon and our end user.
And now that we have gained the trust of our most ardent fans, we will continue to listen and respond in a timely manner, without shying away from hot issues. The next steps for enhancing the Forum will be to have a bi-monthly “Chat with an Expert” events. The Forum has provided the opportunity to interact directly with our customers, and from there, almost anything is possible!
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Entry submitted by: Tyna Chua (tyna_c) Social Media Manager
Community: HP Support Forum (h30434.www3.hp.com)
Lithy category: Best Social Support Program
The award-winning HP Consumer Support Forums – the cornerstone of HP’s social support efforts – are a global interactive community where HP customers connect online with one another to exchange insights, tips and answers to each other's questions.
Boasting traffic of two visits every second in 2012, the HP Consumer Support Forums have hit some remarkable milestones which demonstrate their reach, impact and growth:
With a notable 48% increase in Forum questions, the community handled this growth effectively, showing a 17% improvement in reply rate. We are showing continued improvement in reply rates, with the last three months showing an increase of 27%.
An impressive 80% increase in page views of Accepted Solutions.
Accepted Solutions are viewed 1,500 times on average, enabling others to benefit from a solution provided by the community to the original post-er.
(Data is based on 2012 compared to 2011).
Drivers of Success
At the heart of HP’s Social Support Program are the following:
I. Community Engagement
HP’s social care community would not be as successful as it is today if it weren’t for our volunteer "HP Experts" – employees and customers who donate their time to the Forums to answer HP customer questions.These Experts are the life blood of HP’s Forums, and their active participation directly influences the vibrancy and vitality of the seven HP Forum communities.
So how do we energize and motivate our Experts to keep participating in our Forums? We continue to develop our HP Expert Program, which includes:
Our annual Social Support Summit, bringing together hundreds of our top Forum contributors from around the world with one thing in common: a passion to help others through social tools. In its second year, the Summit this March in Orlando, FL attracted 200 attendees speaking more than seven languages: English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese.
Worldwide expert meet ups: Meet-ups bring together global and regional HP employees and local volunteers for informal social gatherings to exchange ideas and solutions.
Contests: HP introduced a gaming challenge for top contributors to respond to threads on the least active Forum boards.
Expert Days: 24-hour Expert "marathons” on specific topics designed to accelerate solutions to customer issues.
Improving Expert efficiency with an Unanswered Questions Widget: A widget displaying unanswered Forum posts allows HP Experts fast and easy access to neglected posts, resulting in faster response times and more satisfied customers.
Product Loan Program: Provides Experts the opportunity to have the most popular HP products in their homes so they can better help customers asking product-specific questions.
Product Briefing Series: Provide training on new HP products and technologies, giving Experts up-to-date knowledge to help customers in the Forums. We conducted seven Product Briefings in 2012, with more planned in 2013.
These initiatives helped contribute to the following results (Data is based on 2012 compared to 2011):
II. Customer Experience
Because the great majority of our Forum visitors are “observers,” we have placed due emphasis on improving the user interface by making it easier for visitors to ask a question or search the Forums. In partnership with Lithium, we have launched several customer experience improvements that increase visibility to the “ask” feature and improve search results layout. Preliminary data shows that the changes yield positive results, increasing Forum search by 66% globally (week after release average vs. week prior to release average). In the pipeline are changes to simplify registration and encourage customer feedback.
III. Monitoring and Harvesting
We currently harvest our Forum conversations and provide frequent, regular feedback to the business units for product improvement or service/support quality. Funneling customer feedback from Forums to business units results in improvements such as creation of patches by our software development team or updates to content on our website.Additionally, every month, we provide the business units with a list of top viewed threads that have not been solved by the community so they can further investigate and provide guidance.
Our Forums are a key component of our overall support strategy, and this is evident in our investment priorities, including:
improving our tools and making enhancements to the Forums experience
recruiting top talent to add to our army of Experts and advocates
investing in our volunteer base and dedicated agents that help assist our customers
Social media as a channel for customer support continues to grow in importance to HP and its customers. Our Forum activity remains far-reaching, providing support throughout several regions and languages.
HP's Consumer Support Forums available since 2009
Quarterly Expert Days across seven languages commenced 2009
Expert meet ups commenced 2010
Inaugural Social Support Summit occurred March 2012
One billion Page Views milestone in November 2012
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