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Entry Submitted by: Kerry Gulloch (KerryG) Community Manager
Community: BTCare Community Forums (bt.com/community)
Lithy Categories: Best SuperFan Story
Our superfans are transforming our business via the BTCare Community Forums. They have been instrumental in driving the growth of our community by contributing numerous solutions helping our customers, which deflects contacts from our traditional voice or email channels.
The reputation of our CLs to understand and resolve customer issues is second to none amongst their community peers (evident via the kudos and accepted solutions awarded), the mods (what they see day in day out) and other internal business stakeholders (positive feedback from product managers right up to our MD of Customer Service!).
They have been key advocates for us within the community and their desire to help us improve both the community itself and our products and services is evident in the insight they give us. They have allowed us the opportunity for some of our product teams to get closer than ever to the ‘voice of the customer’ in order to drive product improvements by attending event calls and web chats. Identifying changes we can make for the benefit of all our customers, resulting in tangible business benefits…more about that later.
Firstly, let me tell you how we got there…
Our superfan story began in November 2010 and has continued to grow and evolve since then. We think our superfans, or as we like to call them ‘Community Leaders’ are incredible. We wanted to recognise and thank some of the members who really stood out to us. Those members who embodied the ethos of our community as a positive, productive place for customers to help each other with their BT products and services. We wanted to formalise how we recognised these people and let the rest of the community know how great they were.
We did that by creating the CLP – 'Community Leader Programme'.
What is the CLP?
The CLP recognises members in the community who help other members in a positive way, they each have a ‘CL’ badge against their name, and have been announced as Community Leaders by the Community Manager. Over and above this we have given some additional privileges to our CLs such as access to a private forum board where they can interact with the Community Manager and moderator team.
We have regular conference calls or online discussions with them to discuss improvements to the community, and have also arranged for BT experts to share their knowledge with them on certain products, such as BT Vision. We have continued to evolve the programme over time, getting our CLs involved in specific product trials so we can use their feedback to improve products before full rollout, and more recently we held our first ever Community Meet Up which they were a key part of.
The Community Meet Up was an opportunity to meet our CLs face to face, cement the relationships we had built, and say thanks for the hours of help they put into our community. It also allowed us to have an open, honest forum with them to get their views on the community, our products and services and collaborate on ways we can improve things. We held this session at the BT Tower in London and also had lunch at the top of the tower as part of our way of saying thanks – the CLs were delighted to get the opportunity to visit the tower which is no longer open to the public. We had some exclusive new product demo’s and our MD of customer service also joined by video link to thank the CLs for their contribution to the community.
As a result of the meetup we refreshed our community homepage, made some board structure changes and fed back suggestions to improve the mobile community experience to the Lithium team. One further change was to introduce selective moderation privileges for our CLs at their request. They now have the ability to move posts, and use this to remove Spam and posts that are in the wrong boards. This has freed up moderator time and the number of abuse reports for spam have reduced dramatically as the CLs are picking them up and quarantining them quickly.
How else has it helped transform our business?
The knowledge and advice shared by our CLs has resolved a huge amount of customer problems within the community and this helps us deflect calls from our service channels. The advocacy that is driven by our CLs also helps give a balanced view of issues raised, which is a welcome voice in a support community like ours where the majority of posts are about problems. The CLs are often an objective voice of reason that other customers respond well to.
The CLs have also been invaluable to us when they have become involved in product testing or focus groups to share their views. Their feedback has helped shaped product improvements via early insight and drive further product development before a product goes live to our customer base.
For example, their comments about a change to one of our TV services was fed back to the product team who implemented an update as a result. The CLs were then invited to join the pilot version of the change to give further feedback before the update was rolled out to our customer base. A great example of their feedback making a difference to all our customers.
Here’s some feedback from one of the Programme Directors within our Customer Services function after a call we had with our CL’s:
“As an avid reader on our forums I know their benefit well for our products, but I was blown away last night on a call with our community leaders. I am so impressed that you guys have grown and nurtured people who just want to help our customers, its brilliant …. More people like this definitely make it easier to deal with BT and get quick answers…”
We also have some quite staggering statistics for contributions by the CL group, who:
More recently, the CLs have also set up on a video-calling service so they can contact each other and maintain connections and relationships via video. This is something I have also taken part in as Community Manager. The CLs have used this as a way to share more knowledge between themselves helping each other help more customers – the knock on effect of this additional knowledge sharing has a positive impact on our customers.
Finally, we also asked our CLs what they think of the programme and here’s what a couple of them had to say:
“I have enjoyed getting to know the fellow CL members better and getting good advice/information from them. I also like having a better method of communicating with yourself and the other mods again makes it a more friendly atmosphere.” – imjolly
“CL has been interesting, getting to know the small group of other CL's, mod team and Kerry. I enjoyed testing a product, and solving some functionality issues. CL is about service not status to me, and I find I get a lot out of being part of it and this community.” – AllanQuatermain
Their commitment, passion and energy for helping other members is astounding and we wouldn’t have such a successful community without them. We wanted to enter this award as another way of saying thanks to our CL guys – they’re great! 🙂
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