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Company: Breast Cancer Care
Contact: Anna Brown (Digital Community Officer)
Community: Breast Cancer Care Forum
Lithy category: Excellence in Customer Satisfaction
The Breast Cancer Care Forum is the largest single cancer forum in the UK. It was the first peer support forum of its kind, originally launched in 1999/2000. Our Lithium powered platform enables users to safely share their personal stories and receive emotional support from other people affected by breast cancer. Central to the success of the forum is an environment from which trust can develop, thereby encouraging empathy, human connections and interactions, albeit virtual; this in turn creates a safe space that lessens isolation and anxiety. Real people-virtual connection: Overcoming isolation using accessible technology. There are many ways to face breast cancer, we help people find theirs.
Our organization’s customer satisfaction initiatives in 2015
In 2015 we aimed to increase registrations, user engagement and widen our reach to be accessible to everyone affected by breast cancer. As a charity we looked at ways for delivering more for less and reduce our expenses whilst maintaining safety and integrity.
We are a user centric organisation and incorporate all user feedback, input or direct data from LSI to inform improvements to customer experience and user journey on the forum. By listening to our users in workshops and reading comments in posts, we know they want instant access to online support at the time they need it, for this reason we have removed first post moderation and implemented SSO so users only need one account for our Forum and breastcancercare.org.uk.
To support this reduced moderation we have customised the keyword and smut filter systems, as well as activating the abuse notifications and spam quarantine. By doing this we have reduced our moderation team from 6 sessional moderators and 1 Coordinator to 1 Digital Community Officer and 1 Digital Community Assistant. Through this careful implementation we have not only preserved our outstanding reputation of being a safe and risk free environment, we have significantly built on it. We can safely rely on robust Lithium technology, and through all these changes we have simultaneously increased and expanded our customer engagement and service provision. To illustrate, below are our targets and achievements for the year.
User engagement and satisfaction
We know that the ‘midnight terrors’ are real for many people, both newly diagnosed or further on in their treatment of breast cancer. A popular thread used by many during the ‘witching hours’ is ‘The Night Birds’; where members of the community chat and reduce isolation when everyone else is asleep.
The community is an invaluable source of support and information regardless of the stage of breast cancer journey: At the beginning when it is all new and frightening;
Experiencing side effects of treatment;
Coming out the other end of treatment and wanting to support others;
Our users regularly share their experiences both of online and offline services. Increasing user engagement with the rest of Breast Cancer Care is important to us and our users are the best sources of referral:
We recognise that for many users they receive the information and support they are looking for by reading posts rather than by actively contributing. We wanted to encourage this group of forum users to still feel a member of the community and achieved this by introducing Hugs, customised from Kudos. Users are now able to connect with each other as well as show compassion and empathy by sending Hugs in response to a post. This function has been very popular and from launch in December to the end of March a total of 3,948 Hugs have been given.
Another recent user focussed innovation has been the implementation of Community Champions. We identified 21 possible users who naturally offer support and empathy as well as support new users and signpost to other areas of support. 100% of people contacted accepted the recognition:
“I’m knocked out ‘cos all i do is out of love and passion for my fellow womankind. How wonderful.”
We have noticed a steady increase in engagement since this implementation and plan on building on this success.
Our plans for the very near future include a forum restructure. Using the data and analytics from LSI, we have identified areas of the forum which are underutilised. The flexibility of the Lithium platform enables us to move categories and boards to reflect the needs of our users and to enhance the ease of user journey. Removing inactive areas allows us to introduce new areas which have been requested, such as a ‘Coffee Lounge’ where users can still connect in a safe online environment but in conversations which are cancer free.
Other new areas include a closed private group for our Community Champions and an innovative category, ‘Ask Our Nurses’. This is where users can directly ask questions to our highly regarded clinical specialists enhancing our Helpline and ‘Ask the nurse’ email service.
In the last 12 months our forum has grown by 40% and we have no intention of sitting back and settling for that. With the ability to be reactive to our users’ needs and having the data, both quantitative and qualitative to support and underpin decisions, we will continue to grow from strength to strength.
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