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2020 Customer Awards: EE - Best-in-Class: Community

2020 Customer Awards: EE - Best-in-Class: Community

2020 Customer Awards: EE - Best-in-Class: Community

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Company: EE

Company background: EE, part of the BT Group, runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, offering 4G in more places than any other UK network. EE was first to launch 4G in the UK in October 2012, and also first to launch 5G in May 2019. EE also provides home and business broadband using both 4G and fixed line connections. EE’s retail presence exceeds more than 600 shops across the UK.

Contact: Miles Hipkin

Title: Senior Product Owner - Community

Related URLs: EE Community / ee.co.uk

Kudos Category: Best-in-Class: Community

1. Describe your community(s) and how you decided to start a community or grow/change it? (user request, Khoros suggestion, internal idea, etc.).

Our Community was born in 2012 when we launched the EE brand, but had always sat a bit outside our main web presence, wasn’t well integrated with other parts of our website and of course, customers had to use a different account to use community vs manage their online account with us. We wanted to bring community 'out of it's box' and make the most of all the fabulous customer engagement and insight we get.

Since 2018 we’ve followed a programme of work to drive integration, adoption and bring community closer to the heart of our digital customer journeys by reducing the barriers to engage with the community both for customers and employees.

We set a vision: To grow a vibrant community that is integral to EE & enables open and valuable conversations. Key activities identified to achieve this were:

  • Building a seamless single sign-on experience to allow customers to use one account to manage their account and engage in community
  • Signposting from our online account area and app to ask questions and give us ideas and feedback for our digital services
  • Building modules to surface relevant community content in our Help website
  • Allowing customers to search community from other parts of the site (both via our global search tool and via custom modules in our help site)
  • Taking a promotional roadshow to more than 15 internal frontline and Head Office sites in the UK and Ireland to improve awareness and understanding of community for staff
  • A community course available on our staff training platform along with bespoke training from our community managers for staff who want to actively engage in community
  • A comprehensive archiving programme to remove redundant content and help customers find the right answers quicker

We’ve now completed all the above activities and while we need to continue some and optimise and improve others, it’s a good time for us to take stock and look back at what we’ve achieved and the impact it’s had on how community is perceived and used inside our business, and how it’s helping our customers get more from community than ever before.

Before the sweets were gone, when we took community on the road to all our contact centresBefore the sweets were gone, when we took community on the road to all our contact centres

 

 

2. Tell us about how you made it happen? Did you stage it first? Who got an early look? How did you drive adoption? Did you get executive buy-in? Did you have any key iterations?

 

Starting small

Some elements of our plans required significant funding – so we started with some of the smaller activities that could be implemented at minimal cost and preached the benefits of community internally while we got some of these smaller pieces in place. We also started to get clearer with our customers (and our staff) about how community works and what the benefits are. For instance, we made a simple video explaining it.

 

Being aligned and educating wherever we could

Collaboration is key and we worked closely with digital, customer service and other departments to drive a consistent message about the benefit of increasing customer engagement with our digital tools, including community.

Increasing digital engagement is a key focus area for our business, so by aligning our community growth and improvements to this goal we made getting support for our plans easier.

Some examples of how we ensure broad support and understanding for community are:

  • Customer insights from community are regularly shared with senior stakeholders up to the CEO and his team, so they understand some of the amazing insight we can get from an engaged audience in community
  • We try to never miss an opportunity to involve community in the handling of large scale issues or crisis situations
  • Senior stakeholders get invited to superuser meetups to talk with our superusers and better understand how community works and the benefit we can get from it
  • Community is a ‘channel’ in our marketing planning processes, meaning we have good visibility of our business plans and can ensure community has the opportunity to get involved in launches from the get-go

 

Prepared to make (and push for) big changes

The single most impactful change we’ve built up to is single sign-on (SSO). This required funding which we were able to secure thanks to the support of senior stakeholders after preparing different business cases. This didn't happen overnight though, and took multiple attempts. Underpinning SSO was the ease of use it would bring to getting involved in the community and therefore allow us to increase:

  • Registrations and logins
  • New topics and replies
  • Marked solutions

These would mean we’d increase our base of aware and engaged customers in community, drive more 1:1 and one to many benefits for our customers, and drive more business insight and value for our colleagues and our business. 

Ultimately, single sign-on was a huge piece of work for our community team to undertake, but you'll see from some of the improvements we've seen below, it was worth it.

Our work to cross-link parts of our digital estate with community content and functionality was also important to raise customer awareness and our archiving programme was critical to remove redundant content and help make it easier for customers and colleagues to find the most recent, relevant conversations for their needs – measured by resolution rate. Getting an archiving solution that worked for us also took a lot of time and effort, but we're now seeing that pay off with increases in resolution rate.


3. What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business. Please include metrics if possible.

The growth of our community and the broad support we've gained around the business can be demonstrated in a number of ways.

 

Internal support

One of our favourite proof points internally is that when we launched 5g services, our CEO specifically asked that our superusers got 5g handsets so they could experience the new technology and help our customers with it. We were hoping to do this anyway, but to have this support without prompting was a great confirmation!

We’ve also been able to take two of our superusers to our big annual (staff only) event, so they could get some sneak peeks at what was coming up and our CEO presented them with a special thank you gift too.

 

Increases in engagement and resolution

Other proof points for our activities and plans came with the rollout of our archiving programme, and then the launch of Community single sign-on in August 2019 , where we saw some of the biggest shifts in our key metrics since our community launched. These increases are based on averages from before and after single sign-on launched (we’ve also excluded data from the heat of the Covid-19 lockdown from these increases, or they’d be even bigger!)

Average increases seen with the launch of single sign-on and archivingAverage increases seen with the launch of single sign-on and archiving

 

 

Building on our capability

Now we have confidence that our customers can easily engage with us in community, we are promoting more use cases internally where community helps deliver customer insights and drive business decisions. This allows us to drive more improvements across our business and for more customers than simply visit the community.

A couple of recent examples:

  • Customers now have dedicated areas in the community to flag ideas and feedback for our My EE website and app. Our teams regularly review and use this to get problems fixed quicker and prioritise new features or changes
  • Our online sales teams have taken feedback on why our customers did (or didn’t!) choose EE as their broadband provider, to help improve our online sales info and journeys

Of course, we still have more things we want to do and improve, particularly about how we can continue to scale up the amount of feedback and customer insight we can get from community. However our journey so far gives us confidence we have members who are engaged and passionate about our community, and the right backing and support from our business to continue our growth and success.