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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Company: Future Shop
Entry Submitted by: Laura Buchanan (LauraB) Social Community Specialist
Community: Tech Yeah Community ( community.futureshop.ca )
Lithy Categories: Best Community Technical Implementation
Future Shop, Canada’s number one retail website is owned by Best Buy Ltd and operates over 149 of stores. The Tech Yeah Community has existed for nearly 5 years and has served as a space where customers, Product Experts and vendor partners could connect about the latest in technology.
Future Shop‘s Product Experts have always played a significant role in shaping the direction of the Community, many of them have been active in the community since the day we launched.
When the Future Shop Retail Learning team approached eComm to help find a solution to make training accessible to all Product Experts regardless of their location, leveraging the Community seemed like a natural progression.
The FS-training.ca portal was intended as a one stop shop for associates to learn anytime, anywhere (Canada-wide).
What was built was a Community within a Community that serves as a hub for all of our store associates. Building fs-training.ca wasn't as simple as throwing up some boards, some significant technical hurdles were overcome to be able to host Flash and create an experience that was meaningful for our associates.
In this private community space, our PEs are able to:
read up on the latest products
connect with other associates in their categories from across the country
and even more importantly, it gives them a direct line into the Retail Learning team where they’ve been able to share their ideas and connect with the Retail Learning Specialists supporting them at head office.
Registering for the Tech Yeah Community is now part of the on-boarding process for every new associate and where they come to learn and share ideas. It's also an easy transition into the public-facing community where we've seen associates jumping in to share their knowledge with our customers.
In addition to the Continuous Learning, they also have access to updated Product Knowledge, Sales Culture and Retail Process training. The site is also regularly updated with Peer to Peer Learning in the form of Videos, Tribal Knowledge Base articles, and forum discussions which allows our associates to access their training material while they’re on the go or at home.
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Entry Submitted by: Terry Starr (tstarr) Community Manager
Community: Tech Talk (techtalk.dice.com)
Lithy Categories: Best New Community
Community Launched: 18 January 2012
I think our Lithium Success team could speak volumes on why we should win. However, to keep it simple, after attending LiNC 2011 and seeing what was possible, Dice had a vision of where they wanted to be by 2012.
Dice's team had a vision for its tech forum.
Through perseverance, a lot of hard work and dedication, we were able to pull off an incredible transformation:
We completely redesigned and developed a new structure, including the introduction of Talent Communities which has been integrated across all of Dice.com
We changed the name to: Dice tech talk.
We added a number of new features such as Video, Contests, and Q&A (including Facebook) to name a few, to allow our tech audience to engage more deeply.
The structure was built around the suggested idea that "people interact by topic area, not by style of engagement." We took this advice from Lithium to heart when trying to integrate Q&A style into a discussion board forum.
We will continue to roll out new programs throughout 2012 and beyond.
A pictures worth a thousands words - and we're hoping that Lithium will review our 2011 community vs where we are today - need we say more?
A huge thanks goes out to all those who took on this monumental, but incredibly rewarding effort, particularly my wing-women, Clair Whitmer, Rachel Haskell-Weeks and my wing-men, Steve Butterbaugh, Mark Feffer, James Henry, Adam Fudala - and of course, Jon Wishart and the Lithium team!
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Entry Submitted by: Kerry Gulloch (KerryG) Community Manager
Community: BTCare Community Forums (bt.com/community)
Lithy Categories: Best SuperFan Story
Our superfans are transforming our business via the BTCare Community Forums. They have been instrumental in driving the growth of our community by contributing numerous solutions helping our customers, which deflects contacts from our traditional voice or email channels.
The reputation of our CLs to understand and resolve customer issues is second to none amongst their community peers (evident via the kudos and accepted solutions awarded), the mods (what they see day in day out) and other internal business stakeholders (positive feedback from product managers right up to our MD of Customer Service!).
They have been key advocates for us within the community and their desire to help us improve both the community itself and our products and services is evident in the insight they give us. They have allowed us the opportunity for some of our product teams to get closer than ever to the ‘voice of the customer’ in order to drive product improvements by attending event calls and web chats. Identifying changes we can make for the benefit of all our customers, resulting in tangible business benefits…more about that later.
Firstly, let me tell you how we got there…
Our superfan story began in November 2010 and has continued to grow and evolve since then. We think our superfans, or as we like to call them ‘Community Leaders’ are incredible. We wanted to recognise and thank some of the members who really stood out to us. Those members who embodied the ethos of our community as a positive, productive place for customers to help each other with their BT products and services. We wanted to formalise how we recognised these people and let the rest of the community know how great they were.
We did that by creating the CLP – 'Community Leader Programme'.
What is the CLP?
The CLP recognises members in the community who help other members in a positive way, they each have a ‘CL’ badge against their name, and have been announced as Community Leaders by the Community Manager. Over and above this we have given some additional privileges to our CLs such as access to a private forum board where they can interact with the Community Manager and moderator team.
We have regular conference calls or online discussions with them to discuss improvements to the community, and have also arranged for BT experts to share their knowledge with them on certain products, such as BT Vision. We have continued to evolve the programme over time, getting our CLs involved in specific product trials so we can use their feedback to improve products before full rollout, and more recently we held our first ever Community Meet Up which they were a key part of.
The Community Meet Up was an opportunity to meet our CLs face to face, cement the relationships we had built, and say thanks for the hours of help they put into our community. It also allowed us to have an open, honest forum with them to get their views on the community, our products and services and collaborate on ways we can improve things. We held this session at the BT Tower in London and also had lunch at the top of the tower as part of our way of saying thanks – the CLs were delighted to get the opportunity to visit the tower which is no longer open to the public. We had some exclusive new product demo’s and our MD of customer service also joined by video link to thank the CLs for their contribution to the community.
As a result of the meetup we refreshed our community homepage, made some board structure changes and fed back suggestions to improve the mobile community experience to the Lithium team. One further change was to introduce selective moderation privileges for our CLs at their request. They now have the ability to move posts, and use this to remove Spam and posts that are in the wrong boards. This has freed up moderator time and the number of abuse reports for spam have reduced dramatically as the CLs are picking them up and quarantining them quickly.
How else has it helped transform our business?
The knowledge and advice shared by our CLs has resolved a huge amount of customer problems within the community and this helps us deflect calls from our service channels. The advocacy that is driven by our CLs also helps give a balanced view of issues raised, which is a welcome voice in a support community like ours where the majority of posts are about problems. The CLs are often an objective voice of reason that other customers respond well to.
The CLs have also been invaluable to us when they have become involved in product testing or focus groups to share their views. Their feedback has helped shaped product improvements via early insight and drive further product development before a product goes live to our customer base.
For example, their comments about a change to one of our TV services was fed back to the product team who implemented an update as a result. The CLs were then invited to join the pilot version of the change to give further feedback before the update was rolled out to our customer base. A great example of their feedback making a difference to all our customers.
Here’s some feedback from one of the Programme Directors within our Customer Services function after a call we had with our CL’s:
“As an avid reader on our forums I know their benefit well for our products, but I was blown away last night on a call with our community leaders. I am so impressed that you guys have grown and nurtured people who just want to help our customers, its brilliant …. More people like this definitely make it easier to deal with BT and get quick answers…”
We also have some quite staggering statistics for contributions by the CL group, who:
Have contributed 18.7% of overall posts
Have authored 28% of all accepted solutions
Have received 35% of all ratings awarded
Have spent 1,038,734 minutes online in our community – almost 2 yrs solid between them and the community itself has only just had it's 2nd birthday!
More recently, the CLs have also set up on a video-calling service so they can contact each other and maintain connections and relationships via video. This is something I have also taken part in as Community Manager. The CLs have used this as a way to share more knowledge between themselves helping each other help more customers – the knock on effect of this additional knowledge sharing has a positive impact on our customers.
Finally, we also asked our CLs what they think of the programme and here’s what a couple of them had to say:
“I have enjoyed getting to know the fellow CL members better and getting good advice/information from them. I also like having a better method of communicating with yourself and the other mods again makes it a more friendly atmosphere.” – imjolly
“CL has been interesting, getting to know the small group of other CL's, mod team and Kerry. I enjoyed testing a product, and solving some functionality issues. CL is about service not status to me, and I find I get a lot out of being part of it and this community.” – AllanQuatermain
Their commitment, passion and energy for helping other members is astounding and we wouldn’t have such a successful community without them. We wanted to enter this award as another way of saying thanks to our CL guys – they’re great! :)
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Entry Submitted by: Candace Sims (candace_sephora) Community Manager
Community: Sephora BeautyTalk (sephora.com/beautyadvice)
Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience
We are convinced that Sephora has the best SuperFans on the planet, and also the most engaged.
They spend an average of 396 minutes online a month, and purchase 10x more than our average client! They also have created their own community and support system on BeautyTalk, outside of the usual chatter about beauty and makeup.
Aside from the wildly popular user-created traveling Sephora box program, they also offer each other support during troubling times, and give advice to each other on every subject from financial issues to favorite travel destinations.
That they feel so comfortable discussing so many different types of topics with each other is really a testament to how close the super users in our community are.
Our lounge boards are some of the most popular and active boards in the community, and every time one of our users hits a “hearts” (kudos) milestone in the community, our users throw them a (virtual) party!
It’s really fantastic to see our members rewarding each other and fostering a sense of accomplishment among each other in the community.
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Entry Submitted by: Becky Scott (lolagoetz) Tech Zone Success Manager
Community: Cisco Tech Zone
Lithy Categories: Best New Community
Community Launched: 10 October 2011
Our organization tends to be very email-centric, as many companies are. One of the problems we had with email was the lack of centralization, accounting, and the ability to capture and reuse knowledge.
It’s tough to search through thousands of emails to find an answer to your question. And what happens if you join a group mid-discussion? You don’t get the benefit of prior conversations.
The value of the contributions and the impact experts were making went unnoticed as the mailing lists didn't feed into the overall metrics system.
We decided to go with a community-based platform so we could auto-archive discussions and provide a rich, comprehensive and flexible reputation model. This allowed us to transition into a reusable content model. The adoption rate in our organization has been phenomenal, with many more people visiting than our original roll-out group. In fact, we've gone viral! Word of mouth has increased our visitors to three times what we expected – and we only launched the community in October.
In order to accelerate wide adoption we have ensured that our community is not a stand-alone tool. It is seamlessly tied to the engineers' workflow and deeply integrated with our other service delivery tools. To this end we’ve made 100+ enhancements to the basic Lithium community, based on our business needs.
The forums reputation model has helped us acknowledge contributions that would have previously gone unrecognized. Engineers who never participate in email discussions beyond asking questions are actively posting answers in the forums and helping other engineers. And they’re competing to see who can get on our leader board.
But the biggest win for our group at Cisco has been the ability to bring experts together from all areas. Engineers from across the globe are asking and answering questions for each other.
Collaboration is growing and we’re seeing instances of these conversations helping other engineers solve cases faster.
Cases that were taking months to get a resolution are getting answers on our forums within days and solving issues for our customers because of the ease of collaboration in our community.
And it’s accelerating engineer learning, too, as anyone can read documents and update their knowledge on new products and how to troubleshoot issues. And we’re seeing engineers do just that, and helping other engineers with their new skills.
"Tech Zone has been by far the best forum/resource for helping engineers that I have seen in my past 5 years of TAC experience." – Cisco TAC engineer, Anoop Saxena.
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Entry Submitted by: Kenneth Refsgaard Community Manager (kendoji)
Community: TomTom Discussions (discussions.tomtom.com)
Lithy Categories: Best SuperFan Story or Insight
When we launched TomTom Discussions on 1st March 2011 we knew that superfans would be important to the success of the community. And it didn’t take long before a few very actively engaged users emerged.
A few months after launch we created a private area for our top users, which marked the beginning of our superuser program. Since then we’ve been consistently awed by the knowledge and passion shown by these customers. We’d like to introduce a few of them.
In the early days of our community, one of our superusers was single-handledly responsible for 10% of the posts on the forums. The truly remarkable thing, though, is his encyclopedic knowle
dge of our products. It’s safe to say that he knows our products better than just about any of us! And we often - only half-jokingly -explain to colleagues that everything he posts should be assumed to be 100% correct.
In the year since we have been live he has authored 250 solutions and posted almost 4,000 times!
Creating that Community Spirit:
Two of our superusers have been instrumental in helping us manage the community.
One thorny topic had become quite challenging to manage, when one of our superfans went on a mission to turn things around. He posted in the thread but also made great efforts reaching out in private to the most vocal troublemakers, urging them to be constructive. Most of them changed their behaviour immediately! These noble superfans have helped to maintain a friendly atmosphere on the community for everyone.
Above and Beyond:
Several of our other superfans spend countless hours providing direct support to customers who are having problems.
This even goes to the extent of offering to provide help over the phone, or using Google Translate to help customers in languages that they don’t speak!
And in our private area we receive a constant flow of valuable feedback from all of our superfans. This can be about product issues, website errors and much more. In fact, some of our colleagues from the product teams have learned that our private area is one of the best places to get timely and accurate product feedback, and have started monitoring it on a daily basis!
We all pay a lot of attention to the private area, and make sure that our superfans have a fast and direct line of communication to us.
There are many more examples we could mention, but possibly the greatest thing we’ve seen happen with our superfans is the warm and friendly relationship they’ve built with each other, and with us.
The private area is a board that’s full of laughter, honesty and mutual support. The bonds that our superfans have built with each other, and their relentlessly helpful and constructive discussions on the community, are infectious – they are really the ‘leaders’ of the community, and we often see new users starting to emulate their behavior (even if they started out as detractors!).
Our community is a great success, but we owe it all to our loyal superfans.
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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 Global Implementation
HP Expert Day Events come of age around the world
HP customers worldwide got their toughest questions answered by HP Experts. Hosted on all seven HP Consumer Support language forums, Expert Days showcased HP’s commitment to our customers by engaging in real time, one-on-one, personalized conversations, sharing, and help on a global scale.
14 Expert Day events were held in 2011 and early 2012 with hundreds of volunteers, known as HP Experts. HP Experts located around the world are a valuable resource for community members, an indispensable part of the HP team, and their participation has helped build and grow HP’s community.
Gathering online for 24 hours to answer any and all questions that community members posted to the forum boards, HP Experts physically and virtually came together in various Expert Villages headquartered at HP sites around the world to confer and answer to questions as a team.
Combined with the power of the Lithium Technologies platform, HP customers could talk with experts at their convenience and in their preferred language (English, Spanish, S Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, and Korean). So, whether you’re an English speaker in Thailand or a French speaker in the US, HP customers have the ability to access the Expert Day of their choice and get the answers they want via a personal, human, and high-quality support experience.
The numbers tell the story
One key measure of the HP’s Global Expert Day program’s success is in the numbers – here are a few we’re especially proud of:
On the English language forum, Expert Day participation grew by more than 50,000 customers between the April 2011 and January 2012 events. In January, customers from 219 countries had their questions answered during Expert Day.
The September 2011 Portuguese Expert Day had 15,000 participants. Additionally, the number of digital “thank yous” (given in the form of “kudos” on the forum) increased by more than 4000% compared to a normal day’s average.
The January 2012 Chinese Consumer Support Expert Day saw a 1526% increase in number of postings over the daily average, while the January 2012 Korean Consumer Support Expert Day saw a 671% hike when compared to daily average.
HP began its Expert Day programs for some key reasons:
To connect with customers real-time to share and help when they need it
To listen and learn from our customers as they share their HP successes and challenges
To introduce first-time users to the HP community by meeting and talking live with other HP fans, friends, and experts and getting the most out of their HP products and services .
Progress toward that goal has been overwhelming worldwide:
September’s English-language Expert Day saw a 195% jump in new registrations compared to an average day.
September’s German and French Expert Day resulted in more than 325% increase in each language forum’s new registrations vs. an average day.
July’s Chinese-language Expert Day resulted in more than 600% more new registrations compared to an average day.
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal for HP Expert Days, and based on responses from customers around the globe, the HP Support Forum community is exceeding everyone’s expectations:
“Wow, I get responses from 2 experts so quickly, it’s almost an instant chat” – German Forums Customer, September Expert Day
“I am getting to know much more knowledge. Thanks for experts solution, I know more skills on computer”- Chinese Forums Customer, July Expert Day
“Wow!!! It's working. I can't begin to thank you enough!!! Not enough Kudos permitted to express my appreciation to you for hanging in there until you got the solution to my situation.” – English Forums Customer, September Expert Day
“Fantastic…I can now go to bed (it is 10.43 p.m. here) in the knowledge that I can try that first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks once again for your considerable help - you have been very instructive and insightful and your guidance has been most appreciated.” – English Forums Customer, January Expert Day
Thanks to our fantastic HP Experts, Expert Day events are alive and well. Come join the conversation. We’ll see you in the forums!
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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: Stephen Marshall, Community Operations Manager (StephenMarshall)
Community: Sky Help Forum (helpforum.sky.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience, Best Community Technical Integration
Community Launched: 25 Oct 2010
Sky’s Social Customer Support journey started with the launch of the Sky Help Forum (http://helpforum.sky.com/), on 25th October 2010. Here at Sky, service through Social Media means our customers can be confident in finding answers to their issues, from our community and staff, irrespective of the type of question or the complexity of the problem.
Since launch, our forum has grown extremely quickly. With the realisation of the potential we could unlock through Social Media customer service, we decided to extend this support to Facebook and Twitter in March 2011.
Our mission –
At Sky we strive for our customers to ‘Believe in Better’ and as one of the UK’s largest broadcasting, telephone and broadband companies, we aim to lead the way in customer service.
With the help of Lithium, we are building a programme in which goes beyond the service we provide to our customers via traditional contact methods. As well as customers still being able to contact us via telephone and email, with the introduction of our Help Forum, Facebook and Twitter channels we are also now enabling an all-round social customer experience. The customer can simply type their query on to our Help Forum, Facebook and Twitter pages and then await a response. And the power of the social community means that our super-users and other customers often solve many of the questions.
For any issues that cannot be resolved by our community, we have a team of in-house Sky experts ready to assist. Hello to quick and easy resolutions through Social Media!
Our Highlights –
30,000 registered users by June 2011
More than doubled that to 70,000 registered users by March 2012
Over 150 new registered users each day
1 million thread views per week
144% increase in Sky service Tweets since July 2011
54% growth in Sky Facebook service interactions since July 2011
Sky social media teams’ deal with 1000-1300 total interactions each day
Launched in February this year, we are the first company in the UK to offer single-use Live Customer Chat for one-to-one private case resolution
We have had 90-100% customer satisfaction/resolution for our social media Live Chat service
Consistently over achieving our customer satisfaction and customer resolution goals across all channels
Broadening our reach –
In October 2011, we started listening to our social customers out with our branded channels. This meant that we can look to provide advice and assistance to people that mention Sky services or products within their Tweets, Facebook updates and other forum posts.
We are currently able to respond within forums that aren’t official Sky channels. We also have the tools to monitor tweets and Facebook posts about Sky from customers, and are able to help and respond when needed.
Seeing the query through to the end – When our customers ask questions in our Help Forum or social media channels, we don’t want anything to get in the way of providing a complete end-to-end resolution.
If a customer’s query requires account sensitive information to be exchanged, our staff are happy to privately interact with that customer. But this requires a one-to-one interaction with one of our Sky staff members and isn’t something for a public area.
To solve this, we have introduced an innovative solution to deal with more sensitive social support issues.
Sky is the first company in the UK to use one time chat links which direct the customer back to the original advisor they were speaking to on the help forum, Facebook or Twitter. Once the customer has clicked the one-time link they immediately enter a private chat session so they can have a real-time confidential discussion. This ensures that the Sky team member can have access to the customer’s Sky account and share sensitive information, which wouldn’t be possible in the forum.
Since we launched this private chat, customers have reported 90-100% satisfaction and resolution.
Our belief –
We believe we are excellent contenders in providing the best social customer experience along with the best technical implementation.
We have a programme in place which means each individual customer will have their question answered or problem resolved. There are some customer questions and issues that require our Sky experts due to the knowledge they have and the requirement to access Sky customer accounts.
Our aim is to own the customer’s social interaction until they are satisfied with an answer or resolution.
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