Lithys 2014: Telstra - Digital Strategy Leader

Lithys 2014: Telstra - Digital Strategy Leader

Company: Telstra Telstra logo.png

Entry submitted by: Karen Le (kazwallaHead of Social Media, Telstra Digital, and Yannick Pierre (Yannick_P) Digital Community Manager

Community: Telstra CrowdSupport (

Lithy category: Digital Strategy Leader


Telstra is Australia’s largest Telecommunications Company and for over a hundred years we have connected Aussies with each other and the rest of the world.


History & Challenges

  •          Telstra employs more than 39,000 employees.
  •          In 2013 we had more than 15 million mobile customers (Australia’s total population is 22 million), 7.8 million fixed voice customers and 25.5 billion dollars in sales revenue.  
  •          Although large in size, fantastic business performance results and the fact that we have a long standing history in Australia, we are faced with our biggest challenge – Customer satisfaction. In 2011 our satisfaction rating was 66% when the industry average was 68%.  


Business Goal

As a Telecommunications company we know how significant it is for Australians to connect with each other, and we know that our role in connecting Australians needs to be one step ahead of the change in behaviour. Therefore Telstra’s goal is to create a brilliant connected future for all Australians. 


One of the amazing things the Lithium platform has allowed us to do is not only let us having a conversation with our customers but allowed our customers to have conversations with each other.


CrowdSupport has helped us provide service to customers in a one to many channel and has helped build advocacy. By having customers answer each other’s questions we are able to assist more customers by being able to scale the customer service offered. We are also providing rich customer experience via Lithium Social Web; Telstra service agents are able to review each community post for accuracy and escalation which is a clear point of differentiation from other non Telstra brand supported forums. 


We are using the Lithium platform to achieve our company purpose; by connecting people in connected channels. Telstra now has a community where the conversation starts with the community – this is at the very core of our DNA and our purpose. Every time we need to have a meaningful conversation with our customers about anything we can do it within CrowdSupport. Below are some examples of how we’ve used the channel as part of our digital strategy.


Handset Updates: Fortnightly device updates

We launched the handset updates board taking a simple webpage on our corporate website that was updated every 3 months and converting it into a fortnightly community discussion with our customers around our mobile devices. This continual exchange of information around the process and steps we undertake to update these devices has not only helped to keep our customers informed but also helps us to prioritize what we need to review next. In the past few months the board has generated 46,000 unique visits, 884 post and 150 kudos.


This demonstrates how hundreds of thousands of people including news publications receive updates and information from Telstra at exactly the same time.


Product Exits: Facebook.Zero Application

This particular post has been one of the top 5 most viewed posts on the Lithium platform over the past few weeks. The post was a result of the discontinuation of service planned for later this year and although it’s not a good news story, we acknowledge that it’s no longer acceptable for brands not to be transparent. was a new mobile site that includes all of the key features of Facebook but is optimized for speed with zero data charges. Crowdsupport has been used as one of our primary channels for communicating exits of products and services, and we have been able to communicate en masse to our customers around this upcoming change and allowed for a vibrant discussion around alternative options. The initial announcement post (for the exit of has generated over 62,000 unique visits and 11 Kudos.  


TVC: Crowdsupport P2P Community goes mainstream.

We’ve had a community for 3 years and in this time we’ve demonstrated our purpose of connecting Australians and recognized that communities are no longer for a particular type of user; it’s for everyone.


As part of our customer awareness program around our online support tools, CrowdSupport featured in a nationwide television and outdoor advertising campaign with the tagline “More heads are better than one”. This campaign ran in primetime hours and helped to drive engagement and registration in the community. This not only demonstrates what an integral part CrowdSupport plays in our overall digital strategy but how this has translated into an overall business focus.


TV ad:


Driving organic search

Crowdsupport growth strategy has always been focused on understanding the analytics that drive community discussion and prioritizing our initiatives. Our help and support team are actively involved in reviewing what our customers are posting in the community and generating supporting content. This continual content review, supported by regular community members, has resulted in over 50% of all the community traffic being generated from Google search. A recent example of how we leverage the community organic search was our campaign, “Telstra New Phone Feeling”, where we managed to post an article which returned a top 5 search result within minutes of posting. 


Telstra Identity (Single Sign On)

We have removed the biggest hurdle to contributing to our community by implementing single sign on. Customers can now sign in using their Facebook credentials.


Migration of the community registration and login process to Telstra Identity was a key initiative driven by customer feedback in CrowdSupport. This project involved moving over 50,000 registered users off the Lithium Technology login to Telstra Identity and involved several months of planning, design, development and testing to minimize disruption. This change has quadrupled weekly completed registrations by significantly reducing the barrier to registering and logging into the community.


Community Reach

With our focus on creating advocacy through improved customer service, the CrowdSupport Community has become an integral part of our online support and engagement strategy. In 2013 over a quarter of the Australian population visited CrowdSupport (6 Million) to find information around Telstra’s products and services. In the same period, visits to the community have increased two-fold and the quality metrics have also improved; with the average time on site reducing by five seconds and average page depth down from 2.26 to 1.90 PPV (pages per visit); this suggests that our customers are finding the information they need faster. The improved reach without effect quality is a great example of how a branded, managed peer to peer community can not only be used as an additional support channel but also as a platform for creating customer advocacy. 


Telstra screenshot.jpg


Our results demonstrate the customer’s need and desire and the need to connect with us and one another via the Lithium platform.


Current results – as of March 20, 2014:

  •          Posts: 121,241
  •          Accepted Solutions: 3595
  •          KB articles: 337
  •          Ideas submitted: 364
  •          Registrations: 113,699
  •          Kudos awarded: 18,316


Future initiatives that we’re considering.


The digitization of our company means we are now taking what we’ve learned to enable our 39,000 strong workforce to change the way the entire organization works. Once again the aim is to provide a brilliantly connected future by staying one step in front of a societal change.


  •          ITC Internal Peer Community: Extending on the knowledge gained and success of CrowdSupport, the organization has begun work on deploying an internal instance of a P2P community that will allow Telstra staff to collaborate on common IT support questions. The aim is to significantly improve collaboration between our multiple business units and grow our internal knowledgebase.    


  •          Live Chat Connection: We are personalizing our interactions with each of our customers. To support this initiative we are leveraging CrowdSupport by registering each of our live chat agents with a Crowdsupport profile and providing the customer this profile when we close off each chat interaction. If a customer chooses to stay in touch with the same Telstra consultant with whom they have been chatting, they can easily reconnect with the agent on Crowdsupport. Internally we call it “My Customer, My Responsibility” and the goal of the initiative is to build a strong relationship by listening and resolving queries quickly. 


  •          Develop socially enabled enterprise: An enterprise wide participation includes cross functional collaboration with the rest of the organisation i.e having all product leads contribute to content and answers within the platform. As part of an organization-wide Brilliantly Connected Advocacy program, we are currently investigating the possibility of using Crowdsupport as a direct channel for connecting our customers with a face for each of our online customer support agents. This functionality will also allow our customers to come back to these agents for future interactions.


  •          Mobile First Strategy to drive better user experience: Across the last 6 months, 45% of visits to CrowdSupport have come via mobile handset or tablet device and as part of our mobile first strategy we are undertaking a full review of the community experience on a mobile device and over the next few months be making changes to ensure content is easily consumed.


Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2014 Lithy Submission

This is an excellent service. Telstra crowd support allows us as customers to, inconjunction with Telstras own experts, assist fellow customers with a wide range of technical problems they may face over a wide range of communication devices, and services.

I know from personal messages that I have received from those seeking help, that the small contributions that i and other regular customer/contributers make are appreciated.

It's a credit to Telstra that they are leaders with this internet concept.



I will happily state that this would be one of Telstra's better moves implementing such a service!


I think it great that there's a company willing to supply an active support base/portal for there customers. I would like to add, it pleases me there's the ability for other customers that are willing to donate there time and money to share there knowledge and internet searching skill to better the community and with the bonus of an expert telstra team all the more willing to help out, it's surely a winner for the customer needing the support.


Having Telstra members on a forum helping there customers with there concerns will always yield a great result.

This is a prime example of how to engage a community to grow support, and utilise the knowledge and willingness of the broader user. Telstra encourage contributors in a meaningful way, and a consistent growing core of contributors enjoy sharing and helping, and as with those commentators above, I've had messages from those I've helped, and I've sent messages of appreciation, publicly and privately to those who have helped me. Also, the positive use of the Kudos system is a prime example of how to encourage contributions.

I find the the Telstra "Crowd support" forum excellent as a place to give and receive information and advice.


I also find the Mods do a great job supervising the forum. 




@Kazwalla Great to see how engaged your community is and the strong relationship your customers are building with you and with each other. The mobile first initiative is awesome, as is the way you've incorporated community into your company DNA. Since launching these initiatives, have you seen an increase in customer satisfaction as you hoped?


Thanks for all the support with the nomination, it's really good to see some of our regular Crowdsupport members voting.


Below are some numbers to further support our entry for Digital Strategy Leaders:


How our digital strategy for CrowdSupport compares in the Australian market for SEO: 


March 2014 (source: 


Website Desktop traffic overview: 



March 2014 (source: 


9.67% of our homepage visits are generated by the community:



March 2014 (source: alexa 




I have to say that Telstra's Crowd Support program/site has only been getting stronger as time goes by. Other carriers have since followed suit with similar programs but Telstra were the first, and seem to me to be the leader in the area.


Their staff actively engage with customers, and potential customers.  They support members to support each other.  They take an honest and active role in the community.


Rather than simply launching the site and assigning a few staff to watch over it, Telstra are constantly looking for ways to improve the service.


For me, it's been a pleasure being a member of the site helping others since it's launch, and also dealing with the staff who run the site.

Excellent site and so helpful. Highly recommended for all Telstra users.
Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2014 Lithy Winner