Company background: O2 is a mobile network operator and the principal commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited.
Our purpose is to make every day better through personal experiences that count. Everything we do is inspired by our company values – bold, open and trusted – along with our business principles, and a clear focus on putting our customers first.
Our customer-led, mobile-first strategy is all about delivering a standout customer experience and helping our customers get the most out of mobile connectivity.
We’re the network of choice for mobile virtual network operators such as giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Lyca Mobile. We also manage a 50:50 joint venture with Tesco for Tesco Mobile.
Our sustainability approach centres around doing the right thing for our customers, people and society. As a responsible organisation, we continue to help to reduce our (and our customers’) impact on the environment, as we increase our positive social impact.
Contact: Martin O'Brien
Title: Head of Community
Related URLs: https://community.o2.co.uk/
Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On
1. How did your team shift your existing strategy to better engage customers during a crisis?
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic our main customer support channels, O2 Stores, live chat and call centres were unexpectedly closed. This caused an unprecedented increase in registrations and activity on the community. We saw volume spikes over 100%, Registrations go up in April alone by 958% (compared to the start of the year) and the volumes stayed higher throughout the year (282% up Year on year)
To ensure that our customers were able to get help and advice whilst our main support channels were closed and transitioning to home working, we redirected traffic from those channels to the community. We updated our web pages, contact us, call centre IVR and social channels to redirect customers to the community space. By having the My O2 message and our Community front and centre of the web site and our other channels, it allowed us to focus on the more vulnerable and high risk contacts. IVR messages were updated, Social automation pointed to the O2 Community where appropriate, and we introduced key Chat deflections direct to the community.
We introduced displaced store and customer service advisors to the community space to help manage the increase in help queries, whilst maintaining the peer-to-peer support that our community was founded on. We also saw an opportunity to introduce a dedicated account support team dealing primarily with network and account specific issues, which were amongst our top volume drivers.
Keeping the community members and visitors updated was key – so we took a more proactive approach around updating the space when we could and keeping people informed of what was happening across the business.
2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis?
We created a new community board as a landing space for new customers. On this board we set up our store and customer service advisors so they could provide account support on the community for the first time, greatly helping to deal with the increase in customer queries that was caused by the decreased availability of traditional support channels. We created a process of network support to allow experts to fully handle an issue in the channel without having to arrange call-backs or point elsewhere – simply using the private messaging funnel – which we still have in place today.
COVID-19 information pages were created which provided up-to-date information on how O2 were reacting to the situation, as well as what customer issues or questions could be dealt with by traditional support channels and all of the self-help options available to customers.
Several escalation processes were improved so that we could provide support for our most vulnerable customers who were impacted most by the pandemic.
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?
As a result of the critical role it played during the pandemic, the community is now a key asset in our crisis management strategy. There has been a massive increase in community awareness within O2, which is reflected in the recent investment in the community platform upgrade.
We have maintained high community traffic with key metrics which have stabilised well above pre-COVID levels.
Despite the increase in new topics our minutes to first response was lower than ever during 2020 with an average of 198 minutes!
We had daily tracking stats to understand the increase in traffic and trends which allowed us to adapt quickly and understand the key issues our customers were trying to get help with. We continued to monitor key metrics as usual, but fed these in to the Covid response planning project to support the developing plans.
Seeing registrations massively increase showed the need to support customers and the increases we saw in accepted solutions views allowed us to understand the trends. At one point in April, the O2 Community and our other Social Media channels were the only customer service channels in operation, though with low resource vs an unprecedented volume increase on Twitter & Facebook, the Community represented an alternative but highly beneficial channel to supporting our customers and giving them the latest info. This is where we saw the biggest benefit of having a fully functioning, adaptive community channel. Re purposing staff who could not do their day job was a massive benefit to the business as we did not furlough any staff and kept people engaged with the brand impact.
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