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Company: Verizon Residential
Categories: Most Innovative Social Customer Program
Entered by: Becky Carroll (beckyc)
Community Name: Verizon
Verizon has always used our community forums as a main area of customer insight. Our nearly 90,000 members have been actively sharing their opinions on Verizon products and services for the past three years.
Our goal at Verizon is to go beyond simply gathering customer opinions. We want to collaborate with our customers, so we launched the Verizon Idea Exchange in July 2010 with three main objectives:
The excitement from our customers around the Idea Exchange started almost immediately. Customers quickly began submitting suggestions for our products and services. In return, the product managers for our main product areas have become fully engaged with the Idea Exchange, especially around our flagship product FiOS. The FiOS managers now review customer-submitted ideas weekly as part of their business processes, are more engaged with the Verizon Community as a valuable resource, and are interacting with customers on an almost-daily basis.
The Verizon Community and the Idea Exchange has helped change the way the FiOS product team does business—starting with incorporating customer feedback into our latest FiOS release, 1.9 Interactive Media Guide for set top boxes.
Giving the Community a Sneak Peek
Our FiOS product director was so energized by the power of the direct collaboration he and his team had been doing with customers that he created a new program, Sneak Peek. The 1.9 Sneak Peek offered customers in designated areas a preview of our latest Interactive Media Guide (IMG 1.9) for set top boxes in exchange for their feedback. The program not only provided another opportunity to connect customers directly with Verizon product managers, but it also utilized our forums members as a private study group to provide feedback on this new product. Members of the Verizon engineering team spent time interacting with customer in this private forum discussion around the upcoming release, and our forums members were thrilled to be given this opportunity to share their thoughts with them.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the engineering team and Verizon for the opportunity they have afforded us in beta testing the new IMG and especially the programming team for all their hard word and attention to our ramblings. Being an engineer (for more years than I care to admit) I really appreciate the hard work and the difficulty of the task for something as complex as the firmware.”
Keyboards, customer and Verizon Community Leader
“I also have to give a big thanks to the Verizon’s Engineering and Programming team for working with us in the beta testing. This was a complex task to write and rewrite all the software and firmware… keep us in mind for the next beta. Great job, Verizon! Thanks! :)”
johnf2, customer and regular Community contributor
Customers Directly Impact the Product
In fact, through the Idea Exchange, the 1.9 Sneak Peek, and the Verizon Community at large, a staggering 70-80 percent of what was put into the IMG 1.9 release was tweaked, suggested, or refined by our customers.
Here are just a few of the customer suggestions from the Idea Exchange that were included in the 1.9 IMG release:
Going forward, the FiOS product management team is also giving the community team access to their test track business customers, a FiOS business focus group. We’re working with the FiOS product management team on ways to integrate this focus group into similar product tie-ins on the Verizon Community, similar to the 1.9 Sneak Peek, so we can continue the close collaboration and customer insight.
A True Engagement Community
One of the most exciting areas has been the way programs such as the Idea Exchange and the Sneak Peek have increased levels of engagement with the Verizon Community. When the Idea Exchange first launched, our Community Leaders (CLs) grabbed onto it and started moderating the ideas, letting us know when they saw duplicates or customer questions needing attention. This was not a role we asked them to play, but they picked it up on their own as this new customer insight mechanism gained momentum.
In addition, we have been seeing a lot of community “newbies” move from being lurkers to registered community members. Since our original community is a peer-to-peer support community, these customers may not have felt that they had anything to contribute to those technical discussions. However, anyone can contribute an idea, comment on another customer’s idea, or simply leave a vote. This has really helped fuel community growth and interest across our customer base.
Since launch at the end of July 2010, we have seen the following results:
Additionally, the Idea Exchange itself has been rapidly growing:
In summary, the Verizon Community has now become fully engrained in our product management processes. It has helped Verizon get closer to the customer, gain insights to help us take action, look for issues needing attention (early detection), and improve customer retention. We are truly changing the way we do business as a result of direct customer feedback from the Verizon Community!
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