Entry Submitted by: Catherine Buzzitta Community Manager (cbuzzitta)
Community: Webroot Community ( community.webroot.com )
Lithy Categories: Best New Community (Launched after 1 June 2011)
Community Launch Date: 2 February 2012
Webroot is the perfect example of a company that needed a community.
We had a compelling story to tell, a revolutionary product that people wanted to talk about and a loyal army of advocates. Also, customer service and product innovation are at the crux of our business success.
Yet with so many undefined channels of communication, we struggled to have the kind of dialogue we needed to really drive our products forward and to resolve customer issues quickly.
It became clear that Webroot customers needed a place to talk to Webroot employees, ask questions, find answers, suggest ideas for our products, and stay in the loop on security industry news. And so with the help of Lithium’s team and our small project development team, we created the Webroot Community.
Success! It appears that a Community is exactly what our Webroot fan base wanted!
After an initial "sneak peek" launch on February 2, 2012 to about 20,000, we gained 30,000 page views in the first five days.
We launched to our entire customer base on February 15th. In just over a month since our public launch, we had over 525,000 page views and over 190,000 user sessions.
After one month, we had 770 registered users - 18% being Webroot employees. This metric is a testament to not only our early success in registrations, but also company involvement.
We have 34 ideas in our Ideas Exchange and all are reviewed bi-monthly with our Product Team. Half of the ideas have already been scheduled to be implemented in the next quarter.
We have 1493 posts and 681 kudos in our Community - with the most activity being in our 'Mobile for Android' forum. This showed us that our users have a lot of interest and questions about our Android app - which then spurred involvement from our mobile team in the Community.
WHAT LED TO THE SUCCESS?
The "sneak peek" roll out was huge because our highly technical advocates. They enjoy being a part of our betas, so we leveraged that in the Community as well.
We featured the community on Webroot’s homepage at the very top of the page, giving it easy accessibility.
We promoted the Community on our social channels, in our email newsletter, in our product and at events.
Webroot Employees were appropriately trained and encouraged to participate in the Community.
We engaged with our superusers early on - PMing them and making them feel important using ranks and roles.
We sent a friendly email out on behalf of the Community Manager asking for early feedback from select users.
We created an "intro" video, welcoming users to the Community and explaining how to use it.
In addition to setting up and customizing the overall architecture of the Community, we also implemented a secure SSL login to remain consistent with our security protocol. (very important to this security-savvy community)
We continue to evolve our forums to make it easier for users to set up their accounts (e.g. “Helpful Pointers for New Members,” a new internal-use-only employee forum, and a business forum to launch alongside our new business product).
We used the Community to cross-promote offers and sweepstakes.
In just one month, the Webroot Community developed into a knowledge resource for security-related topics and a rapid-fire response system for customer support issues. In fact, the response was so great we had to bring on additional support team members to remain dedicated to resolving customer issues on the community.
As a result, the correspondence between our support team, moderators, administrators, and users has been nothing short of impressive.
And lastly, don't take OUR word for it.
Hear what the Webroot Community has to say!
“Any questions or suggestions about your Webroot product, this is the forum to post them. Excellent Forum.”
“I have to say again Congrats to all of the Webroot teams from Development all the way to Support and now the Community Support Forums keep up the great work!”
“Thank you to the Webroot support team for all of your efforts! You ALL are the BOMB!”
“Well done. Keep up!”
"Nice to see Webroot with its own forum and a very nice once as well..I like the forum options...Love WSA keep up the good work."
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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)
Lithy Categories: Best SuperFan Story or Insight
As we prepared for the launch of our A1 Support Community, we decided to run a beta test with our customers – the output was amazing! – we had 16 users who wrote 450 postings in just three days!
That was also the start of our special SuperFan story – about our community member, Simon. He joined the beta test and called our attention to small bugs that we would never have found without his support in this short time.
After the launch we organized a design game workshop to define the future of our community together with our customers. Simon didn’t miss the chance to be part of it, although it was hard work for him to get there:
As he is only 15 years old he had to ask his parents for permission to join the workshop.
It’s a four hour train ride from his home to our headquarters in Vienna. His parents weren’t impressed about the idea, but finally they agreed – on one condition – he had to pay the ticket from his pocket money!
When he told us his story we were really astonished and proud about the fact that we have committed Super Fans like him who care so much about our community. Without hesitating we refunded the costs for his train ticket and additionally donated a goodie bag for his dedication.
After the workshop he wrote us the following kind words:
"I just wanted to say thank you again for giving me the opportunity to join your workshop yesterday! It was a great day for me and I won't forget it for a long time. I’ve really learned a lot, such as what other users think about A1 and what suggestions they have to improve the community. I got my train back home just in time – one minute later and I would have had to spend the night in Vienna ;-)”
From this time on Simon wrote 150 posts and got 56 kudos in the community. He also applied for a job at A1 and is going to support us as a trainee in his summer vacation.
Even the three week house arrest that he got after returning home from our workshop couldn’t keep him from being part of our community!
The story of Simon was spread across all the departments of our company. Everyone who heard about it was impressed by his dedication to our online community. Therefore, he is now known companywide, throughout A1 Telekom as 'Simon, the Super Fan of our hearts'.
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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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Entry Submitted by: Becky Scott (lolagoetz) Tech Zone Success Manager
Community: Cisco Tech Zone
Lithy Categories: Best Community Technical Integration
Cisco’s internal engineer community 'Tech Zone' was built from the ground up by engineers… for engineers. The community developers are also a part of our target audience.
From the beginning we wanted an agile space where we could incorporate constant feedback and enhancements.
When our community opened for business, it came with an Idea Exchange to solicit any and all feedback from our users. Our users did not disappoint.
We started out by identifying where we want to reuse knowledge. We link open cases to posts and articles to track which content is helpful in solving a case.
We wanted search to be front and center in our workflow, so we implemented a search-before-post feature that surfaces related content – and displays the number of kudos and case links right there in the results. And we’ve used REST APIs to deeply integrate our community into our systems, such as our trouble ticketing portal, our knowledge creation strategy, and our corporate instant messaging system.
Our community is also an application development platform. In order to accelerate wide adoption we have ensured that our community is not a stand-alone tool, rather it is seamlessly tied to the engineers' workflow and seamlessly integrated with (and on an equal footing with) the other service delivery tools. To this end we’ve made 100+ enhancements to the basic Lithium community, based on our business needs. This is where our business drives the tool instead of the tool driving the business. No limited capabilities here!
We’ve taken Lithium’s reputation system and not only incorporated it into our community, but we’ve added custom elements and added our own variables to Lithium’s already strong use of formulas for ranking.
We've built a customized leaderboard to highlight the accomplishments of our users based on our enriched reputation formulas. The result is a reputation system that effectively implements weighting factors to allow us to emphasize our organizational priorities and provides a checkpoint for our engineers.
As we see important behaviors that we want to encourage, we can build additional custom components right into the reputation. This reputation model also feeds into a rich custom metrics portal so engineers can self-evaluate their technical growth as well as arming them with tangible data for performance reviews and career development discussions.
Engineers need a quick way to preview information to see if it’s relevant to the case they are working. So we integrated a locally-grown case preview tool that allows our engineers to preview a portion of a case or bug. This has been hugely helpful in being able to find a quick answer within our community.
And we have even more awesome integrations in the works. Our engineers wanted a way to bump a thread without bumping the reply count, so we’re currently implementing a "raise hand" feature that allows a user to draw attention to a thread in progress in order to ask for additional help.
“The ability to quickly get help from experts and the ease which knowledge can be captured and re-used by others makes Tech Zone the perfect tool for us. I think we should also recognize the [Cisco] and Lithium teams for being so receptive to TAC's feedback and their willingness to tweak/ implement new features, as this is a huge part of what makes Tech Zone successful in my eyes.” – Cisco TAC engineer, Mike Robertson.
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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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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 SuperFan Story or Insight
HP Experts rock!
What’s better than one super fan? Try 140!
In March, more than 140 HP enthusiasts (known as HP Experts) from all over the world gathered in San Francisco at the first-ever HP Social Support Summit to share best practices, explore HP technologies and build relationships.
These top contributors to HP’s award-winning Consumer Support Forums are the strongest influencers within HP’s community. Collectively, they tackle more than 50% of the problem resolution despite making up less than 1% of the forum community membership. They are the life blood of HP’s Forums, and their active participation directly influences the vibrancy and vitality of the 7 HP forums communities.
The global conference showcased the technologies, strategies, and best practices that underpin HP’s social media philosophy. Experts were invited to tour HP’s headquarters in Palo Alto, CA to get a sense of HP’s history and culture.
Speakers from the top ranks of HP and Microsoft, as well as social media and customer service industry experts, treated HP Experts to informational and entertaining talks, while a motivational speaker kept energy levels high throughout the conference. Lithium’s own Chief Community Officer, Joe Cothrel, also jumped on stage for a deep dive on the specific challenges and trends that lie ahead in social media.
There was also plenty of time for fun and conversation as HP Experts joined in morning “fun runs,” collaborated with peers during group dinners, and shared ideas in the HP Oasis break room. Last but not least, Experts were honored at an awards presentation recognizing the top forum contributors to wrap up the three-day event.
As the highest ranking forum member across all languages, DavidPK received top honors.
The Social Support Summit was a grand event for HP to recognize and reward these volunteers and say ‘Thank You’ to the people who freely give their time to help HP customers.
After the event, HP Experts shared their thoughts on the summit:
”To do the simplest of things well, and to get a thank you means everything.”
”This was a beautiful moment and a wonderful experience to meet all the fantastic, talented people from everywhere!”
“SoMe team thank you so much for the most extraordinary adventure of my life.” …Daniel_P
“Yes, thank you so very much to everyone involved in organizing and attending the S3 events! It was a grand experience for me in both a personal and professional aspect!” …Kalt
“All I can say is WOW! The forum was such a great opportunity to meet folks I have been working with here for years, to trade ideas and learn best practices. The speakers were excellent, the activities were fun and the organization and logistics were really well done. Kudo's to all of you who made this possible.”…Bob_Headrick
The HP team also is taking insights and suggestions from the HP Expert attendees straight to our product and service teams to improve our HP products and service offering. There is no shortage of ideas to share, either: HP Experts attached more than 90 ideas to the HP IDEA Wall at the general sessions.
Katie Harris, HP Summit Event Coordinator notes,”The first annual HP Social Support Summit surpassed all of our wildest expectations. What a pleasure it was to meet our top members and thank them in person for their tremendous contributions to the HP Communities.”
To encourage ongoing dialogue with and recognition of the Expert volunteer team, HP is committed to continue its ongoing meet-up events around the world.
The meet-ups are informal face-to-face social gatherings that include HP global and regional teams and Experts. The smaller events are just another way to let the Expert teams know they are valued and important to HP and to the HP community.
When asked why they dedicate so much time to the forum, Experts’ answers are almost always unanimous: “We simply like to help and enjoy the challenge of solving issues and spreading a smile around.”
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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
Best Social Customer Experience Program
Sephora consistently strives to provide the best client experience, beauty expertise and services in the industry, whether it be in our stores, online, or via mobile device. We partnered with Lithium Technologies in September 2010 to launch our online beauty community BeautyTalk with a few high level goals in mind:
To build the Sephora brand and community,
To establish Sephora’s expertise in the beauty world,
And to drive sales and loyalty
But our main objective was simple: to create a space where our clients could get their most pressing beauty questions answered.
BeautyTalk quickly became a thriving and vibrant community, a place where beauty enthusiasts around the world could meet and share stories. But a few months into our launch, we conducted a general client survey and received some interesting results.
We learned that 65% of our clients would prefer to get beauty advice from not only their peers, but from beauty experts as well. And if there is one thing Sephora has no shortage of, it's beauty experts! In August of 2011 we launched our Ask the Experts program with the help of our Sephora PRO artistry makeup team.
Sephora PROs are our handpicked elite team of makeup artists who travel the world to work as key makeup artists at events such as New York and Paris Fashion Week, and The Sundance Film Festival. Together with our highly trained beauty advisers in our call center, 6 PRO team members make up our roster of Beauty Experts, who are online between the hours of 6 am – 9 pm everyday answering beauty questions.
I f a client asks a question in the Ask the Experts board, they are guaranteed a response from one of our beauty experts.
The Ask the Experts board immediately took off, and it is now in the Top 3 most viewed boards in the community.
We are very proud to offer our clients a point of differentiation from other beauty communities in that there is now a place where you can get beauty advice not just from your peers, but from trained experts with experience in the field.
We have also just recently launched a Live Chat program, where clients can get one on one real-time advice from experts in certain fields (past live chats participants have include skincare expert Ole Henriksen, Dr. Dennis Gross and tattoo artist and makeup guru Kat von D).
These live chats have given us a whole new way to engage with clients, and the response has been tremendous, with the chats garnering over 20,000 views each and hundreds of questions.
With our Ask the Experts program, we are bringing the knowledge of trained professionals right to the computer screens of our eager client base and providing a useful, fun and engaging social customer experience.
Feedback from our clients - What do you love about Sephora’s Ask the Experts program?
“Everyone I know turns to me for beauty advice, but it’s nice to know there's somewhere I can go when I have a question too!” - fakeasnonfiction
“I love being able to research online before buying and asking the experts questions about the products. They can tell us stuff or about products we would probably never know.” - makeupobesessed
“They have really detailed answers that contain pretty much everything you need!” - rockstarg
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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: Rogers Communications
Entry Submitted by: Gina Mulic (ginamulic) Community Manager
Community: Rogers Community Forums (communityforums.rogers.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience
Our Rogers Community Forums are still relatively new, having launched late in 2010, so much of our effort in 2011 was focused on building the community and promoting it internally.
To accelerate growth we used many cross-functional platforms. We put a note on our customers’ bills (which increased page views by more than 200%), ran banner ads on our Barker Channel (a promotional television channel for Rogers Cable customers).
We also added it to our Quick Start Menu (an interactive program guide for Rogers Cable customers), and pushed targeted SMS messages to customers’ mobile phones promoting the mobile enhancement we made to our community (which resulted in a click-through conversion rate of 2.6%).
We also incorporated badges driving to the community on our corporate blog and support pages. These combined efforts helped us to effectively double our user base over the third quarter of 2011.
With the community firmly established, we began to focus on the customer experience.
The community helped support our most successful device launch to date. With over 1,400 posts about the launch, we had many insights to share with the rest of the business to improve for next time. And it meant that, for the first time, customers could find answers they were looking for without calling in and possibly waiting on hold. Many customers were also able to answer each other’s questions.
To support the launch, we moved to a dedicated support model for the community, meaning in-house customer service representatives could address Rogers customers’ account-related questions via private message.
Our community is peer-to-peer so, as a way to engage more deeply with our customers, we launched a program called Rogers RevUp. This is a series of expert events held exclusively in the community where a product manager answers questions for a few hours or a full day. It gives customers unprecedented access to decision makers.
During our first RevUp, which was related to our Android product line-up, we saw registrations go up 42% over the daily average. The event was also well-attended by our key Android influencers, many of whom we’d been gathering feedback from over the last few years.
This was a nice way to give them real-time direct access to our product manager for Android-powered devices). Through events like RevUp and the community forums we are able to capture insights, share them internally and ultimately use this feedback to improve customer experience for Rogers customers.
On a weekly basis we create a “top five” report that is shared internally and we have created specific reporting for product teams at launch time. Employees are also invited to visit the community anytime to find out what’s being said about their own products or services. The result of this work is a more vibrant community that consistently generates answers to customer questions but more importantly, it’s a community the helps us improve our business.
---------- Rogers is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada's largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada's leading providers of cable television, high speed internet and telephony services. Through Rogers Media we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, sports entertainment, magazines and trade publications, and digital media. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI).
For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit www.rogers.com.
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Company: Best Buy
Entry Submitted by: Gina Debogovich (gina) Community Manager
Community: Best Buy US, Best Buy Canada, Future Shop
Lithy Categories: Best Global Implementation
Best Buy is a multi-national retailer with operations across the United States, Canada, Europe, China and Mexico and customers around the world.
In addition to the Best Buy brand, the family of brands includes Best Buy Mobile, The Carphone Warehouse, CowBoom, Future Shop, Geek Squad, Magnolia, MindShift, Pacific Sales.
All these brands leverage social media as a means to connect with current and future customers to raise awareness of their brand, to gain insights and to support customers. From specific brand Forum boards and helpful blogs to engaging on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp and Pinterest, social media connects with millions of customers.
To help support our global customers, Best Buy USA, Best Buy Canada and Future Shop all use the Lithium Technologies platform. Every year we help millions of customers and facilitate thousands of conversations in multiple languages (English and Spanish for Best Buy USA, and English and French for Best Buy Canada and Future Shop).
As e-commerce continues to increase, more customers will interact with brands online. We also align our blog content strategy with our other social support channels, promotional activity and product releases. For the past year, the global brands have been connecting on a monthly basis to help share out best practices for social and community management.
Our global brands help bring the knowledge from our employees, customers and superusers together on our social platforms.
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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: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Entry Submitted by: Gareth Worsnup ( gworsnup ) Community Manager
Community: Playstation Community (community.eu.playstation.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Community Technical Implementation
SCEE Lithium Implementation
1. Playstation Network Account Integration.
We have implemented integrated login/authentication on our Lithium platform with our global Playstation Network accounts. This means users can login to our Lithium forums with their Playstation Network ID’s.
2. Custom Ad Serving Technology Integration with Custom Analytics
We have implemented bespoke, hierarchical, ad-serving technology across category, board and thread level views. This includes a hero image and video at the top of each board, category and thread page, a standard MPU ad placement on the right hand column on each page and custom background images. Adverts in these areas can be targeted at every level right down to specific threads.
3. Website Integrated Forum Skins.
We have integrated many Lithium boards with 1st party game websites. Example: http://community.singstar.com/t5/SingStar/bd-p/717. In these instances, iframes are used to pull in an external website’s navigation and footer elements, while the boards are custom skinned to fit with the theme of the overarching website.
The result is a seamless experience for the user whilst traveling from the main website through to the forums. Single Sign on (cookie based) is also implemented on website integrated forums, where authentication can happens outside of Lithium, yet users are seamlessly logged in when reaching the forums.
4. Featured Boards custom component.
5. Accepted Solutions component.
6. User Profile Panel & Post Info - hover-over.
7. Custom Post styles - targeting admins/MPU's etc.
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Company: HP Enterprise
Entry Submitted by: Margaret Nugent Social Media Marketing Manager (maugent)
Community: HP EBC (http://h30499.www3.hp.com/)
Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience
HP built one world-wide community on a single instance for all enterprise customers
Executed 11 community migrations to the instance, retiring these communities on their legacy platforms
To date, five languages are hosted on a single instance
Mobile version is available in all languages
Benefits: Cost efficiency; more accurate data of our members (not spread over several platforms)
The HP Enterprise Business Community (hereafter referred to as HP EBC) was launched on January 29 th , 2010 with a single category called “BladeSystem”.
Three years’ worth of content belonging to 3,500 members was migrated from a third party proprietary platform to our new Lithium instance for the initial launch.
It was the first of seven migrations that took place in 2010, bringing total membership to over 200,000
Our migrations came from a combination of HP legacy sites, third party proprietary platforms and an acquisition
The HP EBC has enabled us to bring all our disparate communities together on one platform and present a single holistic view of our members and their activities in detailed metrics reports
Our goal for the first two years was to consolidate all the external-facing communities managed by HP Enterprise onto a single instance.
Within our first year we built five brand new categories and migrated four local language communities from our Asia-Pacific Region (APJ):
This was the first time non-English language content had been hosted together on a single instance along with English, so it took great collaboration and partnership between HP and Lithium to make this happen.
In 2011 we completed the largest migration, with over ½ million members from an 11 year old HP support forum to our instance. Despite the year’s notice we were given, this migration was a huge project for both HP and Lithium. The go-live date was fixed due to HP server retirements. Thanks to Lithium’s experience garnered from the smaller migrations completed in 2010, we were able to complete this with minimal downtime to our members. We also worked with our super-users to help facilitate the change and support while communicating the benefits of the migration.
Here is what our members said:
“I’m excited about the changes coming soon. I have always enjoyed this forum, but participating at the new Consumer Forum since it opened 11/08 I have come to really appreciate the extra features it offers…hyperlinks, macros are just two that I think of instantly. Kudos is another great feature. It is very rewarding to have multiple people give kudos to a solution or tip that you provide and be able to realize how many actually benefited. I believe everyone here will soon come to wonder how they ever did without all the extra goodies. It may take a bit of time and some adjustments, but is well worth the effort.” Cheryl G.
“Thanks for the heads up about what's getting ready to happen with the forum. I'm looking forward to the new functionality. And thanks to HP for continuing to provide such a great place to share ideas and to get and receive help.” Prof Julie
November, 2011 saw HP EBC launch a mobile version of the community: http://m.hp.com/ebc in combination with a new HP.com redesign.
Learning HP Software originally launched its own instance in April 2010, with a view to migrating the software support boards from the HP legacy community (aka HP ITRC) in June 2011. Once HP Software made the announcement of their intentions at their annual customer event, they received lot of feedback from members asking “Why?” HP Software’s perception was that software customers were different from other enterprise members and only focused on software products.
The reality proved quite different as approximately <20% of HP Software members were active on both communities. They were asking why HP Software had their own community, why was HP asking members to join two communities. So HP Software listened and acted on this by migrating their instance to HP EBC.
ROI The platform has become ingrained in the way we conduct our support business, here are some examples:
HP Software Support
HP Software Support uses discussion boards for members to have technical discussions on the software product portfolio with a goal to ensure a better understanding of all the features these products have to offer. In order to provide additional value, to those customers with a valid support contract, they offer a Limited Access area that enables two-way discussion with a support expert.
HP Software see this as an extra service to their support customers that results in reducing the number of deferred calls from their support center. They have created a formula which calculates the potential number of deferred calls each month. The metric that plays an important role is the ‘number of accepted solution views’. We are reporting on this metric in all of our support forums (public and limited access forums). Throughout 2011, HP Software saw the number of accepted solution views increase from 24,000 in January to 405,000 in December 2011
Support Call Deflection
The HP EBC community provides HP a significant cost avoidance opportunity as many customers are able to resolve their support issues via the community, as opposed to contacting HP directly (via phone contacts, email, or chat). Together with other web-based self-solve service capabilities, this is a critical success factor for HP’s support services organization.
HP Expert Days
Following completion of our support forums migration to one unified community, we began to partner with the HP consumer side of the business (which was also utilizing the Lithium platform) to offer our customers a broader “Expert Day” experience. The ‘HP Community Expert Days’ provide our community members a 24-hour period during which to interact directly with HP employees within the forums. HP Expert Days are typically hosted once a quarter, and are a great way to create awareness of the forums for customers who may not typically choose to receive support in a social manner. Registrations, logins, posts, and page views consistently see impressively sized increases during Expert Days:
Growth The evolution and growth of the HP EBC has brought about a new requirement to bring in a limited access area to meet specific business needs with our customers (members) and our channel partners.
HP Software has introduced three Limited Access programs within the community:
1. Customer Advisory Boards (CAB) These are Advisory Boards for our top customers, who have the opportunity to meet face to face twice a year. All meeting notes, presentations and discussions conducted are shared within this category.
2. BETA Testing program HP Software has started to conduct beta testing of the next software product versions with our beta customers within limited access categories in the HP EBC. In the past all communications were conducted via email after the software was downloaded and installed. Using the HP EBC has been a great success as more customers have seen the advantages of using the discussion boards versus email.
These advantages are:
Increased efficiency and reduction in time to resolution
Easier to share knowledge
Forums are searchable, enabling customers to find solutions to issues
Easier to see where customers are struggling and can put together essential webinars throughout the beta testing period.
Opportunity to train customers on new features of the product, so that they can take advantage after upgrading to the new version
Ongoing relationship using the forum until the release is launched and can easily train customers on new features and get their ongoing feedback
3. Practitioners Forum
The Practitioners Forum provides a unique opportunity for experienced members to share their experiences and learn from other like-minded practitioners. Outside of the discussions taking place in these forums we also conduct bi-weekly one hour round table sessions between HP product experts and members, where active participants can contribute or simply listen. Experienced members wanted a place where they could conduct discussions or have conversations with other members with the same level experience.
HP EBC is really a cluster/nest of communities – each managed by separate ‘neighborhood’ or ‘category managers’ and one overall administrator. It is funded by seven internal cost locations within HP by internal cross charges based on proportionate page view costs.
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