2023 Customer Awards: Upwork - Keep Calm and Carry On

2023 Customer Awards: Upwork - Keep Calm and Carry On

Company: Upwork

Company background: Upwork is the world's work marketplace connecting businesses and talent to unlock their potential.

Contact: Stan Gromer

Title: Director, Community

Related URLs: http://community.upwork.com

Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On

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

In 2023, we’ve had our ups and downs when it comes to having to make it through a crisis, but we always seem to come out stronger in the end. In early 2022, we had little operational plans for how to deal with a crisis, and we went into what became the war in Ukraine with little planning of how to handle such a large crisis that impacted so many freelancers on our platform. In 2023, this was entirely different. We used our learnings from the year prior, and created a playbook around how to handle a crisis end to end, with Khoros being at the center of this.

2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis? How were you able to be innovative using Khoros?

With the Community platform, we were able to communicate effectively through many different ways. A big change was creating a centralized spot for Global Updates. We utilize this throughout the company to centralize all updates have clear communication to our end users (Luckily at the time of this writing we have none actively going on). Through community subscriptions, users can choose to receive real-time updates as we publish them.
In the past year, we've had major hurricanes as well as a major Earthquake. In the case of the hurricanes, we were able to proactively get ahead of them, provide communication to our users, and have a slower rollout. When an earthquake hits, it's a much faster moving process where we pull it all together in the span of a few hours. We utilized our homepage and announcements to get the word out when major news was happening, we used roles in Community to segment these announcements to those it impacted the most. We’ve setup a process to launch a Group (hub) when a crisis occurs, allowing those impacted or in the region of the incident to communicate, share updates, or work together on efforts.

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? Please be as specific as possible.

We don’t have much in terms of success metrics outside of real-world impacts we have seen on our users. This work has less to do with revenue or creating a better experience in our core product, but instead around just taking care of our community. It does help prepare our users for issues that could be coming there way though, and proactive steps they can be taking just in case. We’ve worked with our internal resiliency team to help provide early indicators to potential issues. As a global company, both in terms of workforce but also our user base, what may never be an issue a U.S. based company hears about, may become a major issue for us. Utilizing the Community, we’ve been trying to get more ahead of these issues, before our users start contacting Customer Support, or blowing up the forums with questions or concerns. So in that regard, we’ve been successful. While it’s hard to compare one crisis to another, we’ve been able to minimize contacts into our org by being proactive with our Updates.
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