2020 Customer Awards: Sky UK - Keep Calm and Carry On

2020 Customer Awards: Sky UK - Keep Calm and Carry On

Company: Sky UK

Company background: With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 32,000 employees help connect our customers to the very best entertainment, sports, news, arts, and to our own local, original content.

Contact: Sam Ross

Title: Community Manager

Related URLs:

Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On

1. How did your team shift your existing strategy to better engage customers during a crisis?

The Sky Community, which has operated a peer-to-peer model for the last 6 years, is managed by a team of 4 Community Engagement Specialists, a Community Manager, and 11 Oracles. Typically they would deal with 3 million page-views and 20k posts every month, supporting our contact centres in servicing customers across the full range of Sky services.

Yet when the COVID-19 crisis hit, over 70% of Sky's customer-contact resource was lost almost overnight.

As customers became even more reliant on their Sky services in lockdown, with contact centre resource so limited, they increasingly turned to our Community for help.

Suddenly, 600 Community posts per day became 3,000. A peak of 10 new threads per hour became 80 per hour. Questions became more complex, too. Billing queries, normally dealt with exclusively by phone agents, began flooding the Community pages.

The COVID-19 crisis caused a huge surge in conversation.The COVID-19 crisis caused a huge surge in conversation.

Our response had to be swift and decisive. We quickly onboarded over 40 staff who were unable to carry out their day jobs due to the pandemic, including multi-skilled specialists, TV engineers and Broadband Tech Team leads. They were integrated into the existing team, hugely increasing our capacity to deal with complex Community queries. 

We also made sure that our Community was more prominently positioned within key pages of This let customers know that the Community was there to help them while contact centre capacity was limited.

Bold call-to-action on towards communityBold call-to-action on towards community

Contact the community options on the websiteContact the community options on the website

The results have been incredible. Not only have the number of customer interactions gone up by many thousands each day, but performance metrics in many areas are also even better than pre-crisis.

Most importantly, we've been able to work more smartly with our Customer Priority Teams, using the resources we have had available to prioritise the acute needs of our most vulnerable customers, just when they needed us most.

2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis?

We have an exclusive area for the community staff and Oracles where they can talk to each other. We shared this and helped them find all the latest news. It has all the information on how we were responding to the latest Government advice on COVID-19.

Bringing staff and customers together in one place.Bringing staff and customers together in one place.

For customers, billing proved to be an area where we needed to look at our ways of working and quickly adapt.

A new query type for the Sky CommunityA new query type for the Sky Community

Previously, a customer would call the contact centre to get help with their bill. Demand within the Community was low. But with contact centre service so impaired by lockdown and social distancing, we found all areas of our community being flooded with billing questions.

This not only meant many customers needed quick and specific assistance that required the attention of experts, it disrupted the normal flow of product-related discussions. We added a new Account and Billing board to make it much easier to get the help they needed, allowing customers to share their experiences in a relevant community. We always had Oracles available to help explain the situation and keep the conversation relevant to the board.

To help our new members with using the Community effectively, we created a course in community engagement which included a clue card with our top do’s and don’ts.

Our engagement guidelines promoting honesty, transparency and professionalism.Our engagement guidelines promoting honesty, transparency and professionalism.

3. What success metrics did you use to determine if your shifts in strategy and process had the desired outcomes? What were those quantifiable outcomes?

Moving from 4 staff contributors to 45 obviously saw our posting capacity increase dramatically. However, also of importance are the service-level metrics of reply % and minutes taken to reply. 

Our rapid shift from pure peer-to-peer to staff-supported peer-to-peerOur rapid shift from pure peer-to-peer to staff-supported peer-to-peer

The Oracles (Our superuser programme participants) stepped up, they wanted to help us through this.

The already huge ongoing contributions of our Superuser programme got even more incredible.The already huge ongoing contributions of our Superuser programme got even more incredible.

All our numbers are up; conversion to registration, solutions, posts per member entrance, likes, posts and solutions views.

We weathered the storm of unprecedented demand and came out stronger.We weathered the storm of unprecedented demand and came out stronger.

Our aim during this pandemic was to protect the health of our community by staying responsive, engaging and helpful.

We achieved this. During the crisis, a 600% increase in demand only cost us a temporary 50% increase in response time, 6% increase in posts taking > 24 hours to be answered and a 6% increase in the number of no reply posts. We're now recovering and recording an improvement in all these metrics.

Numbers tell one side of our COVID-19 story. The other side is how well we worked with our Customer Priority Teams. Building this relationship, we made sure our most vulnerable customers got the right help at a time when they really needed us.