2021 Customer Awards: Three Ireland - Keep Calm and Carry On

2021 Customer Awards: Three Ireland - Keep Calm and Carry On

Three Ireland Logo.JPG
Company: Three Ireland

Company background:

Three is one of Ireland’s leading mobile operators with 35% market share and almost 2.4 million customers (as of December 2020).

Our network is built for data; with 99% 4G coverage, and we carry over 60% of all mobile data on our network, that is more than all other operators combined. Three has recently launched its 5G network which is available to customers in every county.

Three has to date invested close to €2 billion in building our business in Ireland. This includes a €700 million investment in upgrading and expanding our network and in Three’s digital transformation, which will deliver a cutting-edge experience for both our customers and our employees.

Annually, Three continues to invest over €100 million into our business to ensure we continue to deliver the best network, experience and service for our customers.

Customers can reach us by phone, messaging, email and through our multiple Social Media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and newly integrated Instagram.

Contact: Dearbhaile Culhane

Title: Social Media Team Lead

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Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On

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

We all remember March 2020 when the world hit a pandemic. This tested a lot of companies and challenged them in providing support to customers. It was no different for us in Three Ireland social media. Pre Covid, our volumes were easily managed and our day to day ran very smoothly. During Covid, our daily volumes increased by 286% going from on average 89 conversations per day to 344 conversations. The highest our available queue stood at was 2500 conversations during this period. With a team of 9 CCE’s at the time we could either have sat still and sank or re-invent ourselves and our ways of working so that all customers were answered and received an experience we could be proud of.

Although Covid-19 was a challenge, we at Three saw the opportunities for improvement. It opened our eyes to better operational ways of working within our area. Through product coaching sessions, webinars and meetings with our Khoro’s partners we were able to gain a greater understanding of the Khoro’s platform and what it had to offer. We were able to build and maximise existing capability and introduce new features to reinvent ourselves and manage the new landscape the pandemic brought. It ensured our customers could still trust we were there to support them during those difficult times.

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

Customer Expectation:

The challenges faced were:

  • No expectations being set when Customers came through with their initial query
  • Longer customer response times that they would not have been used to before this
  • Customers growing impatient with response times which led to multiple PMs/DMs before we were able to respond

The Welcome Response bot was a gamer changer. We were able to introduce an auto response that set expectations with the customers on high volumes and longer response times. This enabled us to ask the customer for validation details up front, so all information was available to the CCEs when they picked up the conversation. Some customer queries may have been urgent and needed a live response so we included a direct link to our chat team, so the option was there for the customer to use that channel if necessary. This ensured we kept the customer in our digital space.

This bot has supported greatly and still does to this day. We have enhanced the bot to alert customers to any network or other customer impacting issues that are occurring that may drive contacts into the channel. We also use this as a promotion tool for any new services we introduce, for example, we recently introduced a device support guide on our website and the current welcome response advises customers of this and provides a link for the customers to check it out and potentially resolve any device issues through this new tool. Since this has been included 246 customers have utilised this support guide, clicking on the link provided.

Volumes of Queue’s:

The challenges faced were:

  • We had too many queues, 16 queues in total
  • The rules behind the queues were not fit for purpose and a lot of conversations were going into our Unknown Queue which made it very hard to filter through the queue
  • Customers were going public after coming through PM/DM and these tweets/posts were getting lost in the unknown queue.

We met with our Khoro’s partners and they worked with us to help configure our queues more efficiently.

  • We reduced from 16 queues to 3 main queues – Public Only, Private Only and Public and Private.
  • The Public and Private queue housed the conversations where a customer may have first come in PM/DM and then went publicly.
  • Rules were set up to ensure conversations went into corresponding queues

As a result of this, we were able to structure our working day more efficiently as the CCE’s could focus on one queue each and the issue around missing public queries within private queries was not a challenge anymore.


The tagging we were using within social media was not aligned to other channels tags and along with this due to the way we had our tagging set up we were not able to report on top trending tags easily. During Covid it was important to be able to report on top trending tags daily so we could understand the customers needs and feed this back into the business. It made it difficult for us to report against other channels also on what our top queries were.

We met with one of the Khoro’s support teams through a Product Coaching session to upskill on Khoro’s tagging and find out how we can make the tagging more efficient and easier to report. What came out of that session was very insightful and a god send to reporting within our channel.

  • We were able to set up different categories, parent and child tags to align our tags with all other care channels in the business.
  • Set up the “Tags” widget to be able to report on top trending tags in real time

As a result of this we now can report more efficiently on our top trending tags and our weekly customer sentiment packs now provide rich meaningful data. Feedback from the management team has been very positive. When these changes were introduced, it supported the business greatly as we were able to put up customer FAQs on our website based on the most asked questions. It added another layer of customer care to the customers at that time.

Currently any time we have a network issue, or any customer impacting  issue sentiment packs are also created and volumes reported back as this greatly helps the business understand the impact this issue may have had.

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?

Customer Expectation:

Prior to introducing the welcome response bot we were averaging at 3 responses per conversations. After introducing the welcome response bot we reduced to 2 responses per conversation. This would have been due to us being able to send this welcome response bot asking the customer for validation details. This reduction freed up a lot of the time for CCEs to be able to handle more conversations. They handled and closed 32902 conversations in the height of Covid. In total handling and closing 55104 conversations in 2020.

Volume of Queue’s:

During the peak of Covid we were hitting a Public Service Level of 39% weekly on average. Post the change to the queue configuration we increased this to an average of 77% versus our target of 70%. This was an increase of 38% and brought us from not meeting to exceeding our target.

Customer Feedback Results:

We survey customers we interact with through PM/DM to gain insight into their feedback on their experience with us. In 2020, we received an impressive NPS score of 39.8 and 84.4% for RFT. This was the highest RFT result among all our customer facing touchpoints in Three. We also ask customers would they contact us again and 95% of our customers whole heartedly said yes. I feel this is a testament not only to my team and their focus on the customer but also because of the support and guidance Khoros provided to us during this time.