2023 Customer Awards: Three Ireland - Best-in-Class: Community

2023 Customer Awards: Three Ireland - Best-in-Class: Community



Company: Three Ireland

Company background: Three is Ireland’s largest mobile telecommunications provider with 42.8% market share and 3.7 million customers (as of December 2022). At Three we strive to provide our customers with a better-connected life through meaningful products, best in class service and a connected network experience. Our network is built for data; with over 85% 5G coverage and 99% 4G coverage. Three has over 1,300 employees throughout Ireland, with our head office in Dublin, our award-winning Customer Experience Centre in Limerick where our 450-strong team supports over 1.7 million customers every year, and more than 60 retail stores nationwide. Three has to date invested over €2 billion in building our business in Ireland. This includes a €900 million investment in upgrading and expanding our network and IT infrastructure and delivering a cutting-edge experience for both our customers and our employees. Annually, Three continues to invest over €100 million into our network to ensure we continue to deliver the best experience and service for our customers.   

Contact: Patrick OBrien

Title: Digital Services Lead

Related URLs: https://community.three.ie/

Kudos Category: Best-in-Class: Community

1. Describe the organization's objectives in launching a Khoros community. What is the use-case and purpose of your community (support, enablement and learning, marketing awareness, customer success, driving sales, product innovation, etc.)? Has the community charter evolved since its launch, and if so, how?

At Three, we like to challenge ourselves to do better, and we recognise that this is easier said than done, having been awarded the Khoros Best-in-Class Community award in 2022 we had set quite a high bar.  

Not only did this award mark a tremendous milestone for our 3Community and for our team, but it inspired us to work harder and dream bigger, towards even more phenomenal results in 2023. We took our learnings from this win and decided to apply it to our strategy for 2023 – we sat down and asked ourselves, “what did we do well in 2022, and how can we maintain or improve on that in 2023?”  

As in 2022, our company goals are still clear and consistent because we believe in making a commitment and sticking with it:  

  • Drive digital-first support  
  • Provide a best-in-class engagement experience  
  • Achieve business growth and drive sales  
  • Provide product innovation and insights  


Our Purpose for 3Community:    

We set out to build upon the incredible achievements of our Community in 2022, the most prestigious of which was taking home the Khoros Best-in-Class Community award.  

In 2023 we recognise that our customers are facing a whole new raft of challenges and we want to be sure we are there to help them face and overcome as many of those as possible.   

Some of the key challenges that our customers face in 2023 are:  

  • Customers have been going through a cost-of-living crisis. Inflation costs on fuel, food and other goods and services has been much higher this year than last. 
  • Customer behaviour post-covid has changed too with more remote working and a greater sense of value placed on data connections, speed and reliability of service.  
  • Customers wanted a return to the fundamentals of excellent service that Three has always been number one in providing, they want us to get the basics right – and be there when they need us.  


79% have changed non-essential spending, 15% halting non-essential purchases altogether. 


 Empowered by technology, they also both seek and demand seamless in-store and online experiences that better suit their lifestyles and pockets.  

  • 50% rate knowledgeable and helpful sales associates as important.  
  • 23% plan to increase their level of in-store shopping. 



What we use 3Community for:  

Since we invested so much effort into getting the basics of our 3Community right in 2022, we knew that we had to do better for 2023, while always remaining focused on maintaining our award-winning service across our Digital, Retail and Experience Centre channels.   

  • We now support over 94,000 Community members, which is almost three times the number of members that we had at the time of our Best-in-Class Khoros awards submission in 2022.  
  • Since last year we have developed and extensively tested a new Super User programme internally, with plans to roll this out to our external 3Community members in Q3 this year. We extended the scope of this program to not only include a total overhaul of the Role and Rank hierarchy for members, along with the deployment of a brand new Badge reward structure – but we are also including the introduction of a new employee program called K.E.S. (Knowledge, Experience, Skill) which will see employees with tacit knowledge volunteer to support the creation and validation of content on our internal KB, in turn receiving valuable real world work experience and a measurable data driven engagement score that can be considered by our L&D / HR teams if those employees want to seek promotion or upskill so as to join new teams etc.  



We launched a new *UX Hub, which is free for all 3Community members to join and in doing so we hope to gather insights and collect feedback that will help us shape the way we deploy change on our digital channels. This new Hub will deploy a new integration between the O365 Forms application and the Khoros Community. In building better support for this we are also developing tailored reporting dashboards on our MS Teams application to easily view UX survey responses.   And while participating in this Hub members will be rewarded with a chance to win great prizes like sold out tickets to unmissable events in our amazing 3Arena. 



How our 3Community charter has evolved:    

In 2023, we invested in growing and strengthening our Digital Services team. We felt that if we were to continue providing best-in-class customer service to our 3Community members, then we needed to build a broad and skilled team who would help us to reach our ever-expanding goals.    

We brought onboard a new Digital Content Editor to oversee consistency and quality of all content right cross the Digital Services team. Alex comes to us with a masters in journalism and will have a huge influence on how we shape and present our digital content including oversight of both copy and creative direction. We also hired a new Bot Specialist to ensure that the conversation style and self-service options offered within the Bot flows are properly aligned to and supported by our 3Community.  

So, in brief: driving digital-first customer support is still very much our core mission, as this directs any unnecessary traffic away from our customer care agents and encourages use of our *award-winning digital self-service platforms wherever possible, thereby reducing those assisted queue times and improving the overall experience for the customers who really need an agents help. 

*In 2022 three won the CCMA ‘best customer experience award’ and the ‘best use of digital channels award’. We then went on to win the ECCSA prestigious ‘Gold’ award for best customer service across all of Europe, and ‘Silver ‘awards for best cross functional teams and best use of technology. 


2. How did the community get brought to life? Was there executive/business/stakeholder buy-in? What was the process to gain this buy-in? How was cross-functional support and organizational adoption achieved?

We do things differently at Three. We take the tried and tested methods and re-purpose them bigger and better than ever before. We pride ourselves on our creativity, and on our dedication to our customers. 

The continued expansion of our 3Community into 2023 has enabled our team to achieve a range of company objectives. We believe that the 3Community is not an isolated environment and that by living the connected life values we can bring larger customer and business objectives into clearer focus.   


  • For example, to share the award-winning customer service that Three is famous for across more channels, we worked closely with our Project Management Office and with our Retail Department managers to expand the scope of our secure internal knowledgebase for service agents to also include all our retail agents across the country (some 60 Three Branded stores and a growing base of preferred partner stores). This project was aligned to a massive modernisation of technology in our Retail stores delivering a total refurbishment of store look & feel, display functionality, signage, branding and overall product range. Combined with a major suite of content updates, video e-learning material, and improved accessibility via mobile tablets and interactive touch screen tables in store, we have delivered a rich and valuable digital data hub that customers can benefit form while having conversations with ‘real human beings’ which is what they want. This rigorous process was designed to generate improved digital resources for our retail team, thereby creating an improved in-store customer experience that is fully consistent with the high-quality service already delivered by our customer experience centres and digital self-service channels.   



  • Recently, we have also focused on the promotion of our business customer support services by working with the various business service + sales teams as well as account managers - building more digital integrations between 3Community and our Salesforce platform. We have delivered online webforms on our brand new 3IOT Group Hub, where business customers can access service query forms internationally on desktop / mobile devices 24/7. The 3IOT Hub will also become the home of our new IOT device support content and will work to complement existing consumer device support applications. We have cut the manual interaction time required to collect, validate and process Business service queries (previously done via calls to agents within office hours) by over 50% saving huge amounts of agent time and improving the turn-around time and accuracy of our customer service queries for those customers. 


  • In early 2023, we also developed C.O.D.Y., a self-service chat bot with a fun personality designed to route Conversations Online Digitally, CODY is aimed at improving our customers’ ability to follow the customer service flow that is best for them - through to a successful resolution of their query. In preparing for this deployment (GoLive in Q3), we found that customers wanted to interact with humans – more than bots, so we plan to take advantage of our 3Community user profiles to establish a relatable persona for our non-Khoros CODY bot. This we hope will allow customers learn more about what our bot can deliver and grow to benefit from it – as well as boost our ability to understand our customer’s needs and further improve their experience.  We don’t want a bot that pretends to be human, we want to introduce our members to a bot that is just a useful machine – CODY should be helpful and fun and just does what they need it to do and is available 24/7. 



**A small sample of this new bot feature and how it appears to our customers.    


3. What were the results? More revenue generated, a reduction of costs, improved customer experience, more innovation, etc.? Tell us how Khoros helped you achieve those results. Please include quantifiable metrics if possible.

Across Three, the value of expanding our 3Community membership base is now clearly understood, from our retail stores to our head office. With our 3Community registrations expected to exceed 100,000 soon, we have never been more excited about the challenge of how to sustain this trajectory into the coming years. We feel it is vitally important to reward our loyal members who, through their engagement and enthusiasm, have made the success of our 3Community possible.    

We believe the 3Community offers us a competitive advantage and can influence existing and new customers at every stage of the customer’s journey. Some of our key results from 2023 to date are:   

  • We currently have 94K members on 3Commuunity (61% growth since this time last year) 
  • 2 new Group Hubs: The 3IOT Group; servicing Business customers, and a 3UX Group; that collects user experience feedback on specific applications and services. 
  • Our ideas board has gained considerable momentum seeing an extra 13K unique visitors YTD compared to the same period last year. 
  • While our community to shop conversion ratio is currently below target,  it is still very much on track as our year to date average is 2.4% V. our year end target which is 4%.  
  • And we are already matching the sales value from all activity delivered in 2022. Our current year to date sales value derived from community to shop conversion activity is €130K.  The 2022 sales value was €133K for the whole year.  
  • ‘Right First Time’ scores in consumer assisted channels are up 9% on the same period last year. This reflects the work being done on our internal knowledgebase as well as our bots. 
  • NPS is also up 7.3% compared to that same period. No doubt influenced by the upgraded retail stores but also by recent work within the company to re-brand our 3Plus customer rewards program into the Three+ program – which now includes upgraded customer reward mechanics allowing for even greater loyalty and engagement offers.  
  • Our 3Community Unique Visitor numbers have increased from an average of 70k / month to over 100K / month and because we improved the way we collect customer experience survey data we now know that 55% of 3Community users said it was Easy / Very Easy to use 3Community. 



Why we believe we are a best-in-class Community:   

At Three, we aren’t afraid to adopt new ideas, and we certainly don’t take the value of the 3Community and its members for granted. So, we have an ambitious future in mind for our 3Community.  


We believe we are a best-in-class Community for the second year running because of our consistently high Customer Service we deliver to our ever-growing membership base – we like to take this growth in registrations as well as unique visitor volumes as the clearest sign that our 3Community mission aligns with the wants and needs of our customers.    


Further, we plan to utilise our new in-house design and development capabilities to the best of our abilities, expanding into more modern form integrations so that we can receive direct and honest feedback from our 3Community members. We feel that this is the most secure method of sustaining a long-term future for our 3Community and ensuring that we continue to move in the right direction – by catering to the explicit wants, needs, and creative suggestions of our engaged membership base.   


At 3Community we live the core values of Three Ireland and everything we do is designed to deliver a better-connected life for our customers. And as our latest TV ad suggests we always try to do this with a little bit of fun too 😁 


Special Thanks: Jon Henshall, Valentina Mengarelli

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