Lithys 2016: Optus - Social ROI Titan

Lithys 2016: Optus - Social ROI Titan

optusSCREAM_Teal-YellowBubble-sRGB.jpgCompany: Optus

Contact: Karen Le (Community Manager)

Community: My Optus Community

Lithy category: Social ROI Titan


As Australia's second largest Telecommunication provider, Optus is in the business of connecting people. We offer a broad range of communications services including mobile, telephony, internet, business network services, satellite services and subscription television to over ten million customers every day.


While we are a company that is focused on enabling homes and businesses with technology and entertainment, our vision is to lead Australia in providing outstanding customer experience.


Like many companies, the provision of customer service through traditional channels contributes to a significant proportion of our operational cost base. In parallel, we continue to see an ever increasing appetite from our customers to engage with us through digital channels - most notably, live chat and social media, with both achieving double digit growth in the preceding year. While these channels offer operational efficiencies over voice and retail channels, channel switching customers alone would not enable the organisation to achieve our cost reduction objectives.

Optus is a Total Community customer, leveraging the Lithium Community Platform, Lithium Social Web and Social Media Analytics products.


Our 2015 goals for community and LSW

Optus implemented a Lithium powered community in early 2012. After the hard yards of community establishment were carried out, the focus on fully leveraging the asset was lost, resulting in stagnation and faltering interest from it’s 20,000 members.

The development of this year’s overarching Customer Service Strategy was firmly rooted in digital with the dual purpose of meeting the shift in customer expectation and reducing support costs. The underutilization of community based customer support was recognized as a key area of opportunity.

The resulting business objective was to actively utilize My Optus Community to deflect an incremental 350,000 calls from the call center during FY16 (March ’15 to April ‘16). In doing so, we would not only achieve in year financial benefits, but re-invigorate an asset and truly unlock the potential of peer-to-peer customer support.


In parallel, we also embarked on an ambitious goal of extending our best in class social response into the relatively unchartered territory of targeting apathetic competitor customers through active listening and considered engagement to generate sales.


Our focus areas and tactics


Our approach to achieving our ambitious cost reduction goals was made up of 3 parts:

  • Secure executive sponsorship: By constructing a narrative around best practice, both within and outside telco, we were able to successfully articulate the size of the opportunity offered through peer to peer support. This proved critical in the removal of barriers that presented themselves around internal positioning of the community as the default support channel as well as securing the resources required to make it a reality.

  • Strategy development: To capitalize on the executive sponsorship required the rapid development of a robust multi-pronged strategy which focused on 3 key pillars to drive call volume reduction, while ensuring that the customer experience was protected.
    • Drive increased traffic to the community
    • Increase the customer reported resolution rate
    • Retain and recognize community participation




  • Investment in people: The execution of the plan required the establishment of small team of experienced community practitioners, that we capable of bringing the plan to life. This included a mix of internal staff with exceptional networks and external hires. The team was kept intentionally small (3 FTE) and dedicated to the delivery of the operational plan that was generated out of the strategy. This proved to be the single most important investment that we’ve made.


Social Response (LSW)

By augmenting the existing service based response team with skilled sales agents, we set out to create the right processes, deploy the right technology and hire the right people. The team had to be highly visible both internally and externally and most importantly we wanted to enhance the customer experience in the new Optus brand.


To do this, the aim of the team is to respond to any post where an opportunity for a sale is clear in either of the following instances:

  • When a prospect mentions @Optus or Optus in conversation and expresses an interest in taking a new product/service
  • When a prospect indirectly references a competitor and expresses an interest in taking a new product/service


When any of the above references are made in the social space these are seen as clear opportunities (cries for help) to initiate a sales conversation. LSW makes the routing and prioritization of these instances to allow the team to engage immediately (within 30 min) with the prospect responding directly to their post. We utilize the Social profile to engage in a personalized, fun manner ensuring that we offer the customer a compelling reason to respond and engage.

The results


The combination of executive support, solid strategy and a focused team has delivered an outstanding set of outcomes for My Optus Community.


Listen to what the VP of Customer Service has to say about the results and the impact they’ve had on the organisation’s performance.




Increased Traffic and visitation: We have seen a 107% increase in traffic to the community over the course of the past 12 months, which has been driven through a number of key initiatives. This has included the inclusion of contextually relevant widgets that surface community conversation through the website, inclusion of strong CTA’s on all electronic communication, but most importantly we’ve made the significant cultural change to position to community as THE default support channel for our Go To Market programs. For example when Optus launched a new mobile App in September, WiFi Talk (gives customers with limited indoor mobile coverage can use the app to make and receive calls over a WiFi connection), My Optus Community was used as the primary support channel and for the very first time all the customer broadcast communications directed customers to My Optus Community with a blog post with all of the key details. Over 67,000 people viewed the post and resulted in 230 comments on the thread, yet only 20 support calls logged about WiFi Talk issues. This has been successfully replicated a number of times since with equal success and is now considered BAU practice.

WiFi Talk Launch


An extension of our online integration strategy has been to develop campaign landing pages directly within the community, giving customers the opportunity to directly ask questions, comment and respond directly. These questions are work flowed into to LSW where moderators are able to respond where required. This has worked so well the Pre- Paid team have made the community landing page part of the customer on-boarding journey, allowing all new Pre-Paid customers ask questions at the time of setup in a seamless experience.

Pre-Paid Welcome Hub

In June of 2015 we launched the My Optus Community Blog, which has played an important role in our content marketing strategy and has been an excellent vehicle for the discovery of community content. Since launch, we have maintained a steady rhythm of content production with over 125 articles published, which have received over 500,000 page views and contribute a significant proportion of search referrals.


My Optus Community Blog

We’ve acknowledged the trend of needing support on-the-go by making My Optus Community the first fully responsive community in Australia, ensuring that members have the same experience across all of their devices. This has resulted in a jump from 510K mobile visits last financial year to 1.3 million this year. Today over 50% of our traffic is generated by mobile devices.

Resolution Rate: In a world first, we customized the way that the Tribal Knowledgebase (TKB) module is traditionally used to change the way articles are created and published. In doing so, we give community members the control to identify support content they want and think other members might need, allowing us to scale the volume of content available. Wiki articles can be nominated by the community, who can also make updates to the content, giving them power to help other members. Since we launched this module in September, 63 articles have been authored and received over 26,000 views. 

My Optus Community Wiki

This combined with prioritised routing of unanswered posts into the social media team through LSW has seen the customer reported resolution rate increase from 9% to 37%


Retain & Recognise: The implementation of a formalised Super User program and the implementation of Premium Gamification has seen the contributions made from our super users increase by almost 300% year on year. This translates to almost 1,500 hours being spent in the community by our top 5 users. The program runs on a 6 month cycle, is built on deep personal relationships (that extends into the ‘real’ world) and actively recruits users from other communities based on a set of attributes.


The execution of our strategy in combination with attentive and responsive community management has seen us exceed the 350,000 incremental call reduction target by more almost 60%, delivering a 230% increase on Opex saving. And this is just the beginning…




Social Response (LSW): The social service team been consistently recognized as the #1 Socially Devoted brand in Australia by Social Bakers for the past 4 quarters. We also received a top 10 global award in Q1 2015.

The introduction of a sales capability into the response team has yielded some very encouraging early results. We have engaged almost 5,000 prospects over the course of the last year through intensive social listening. We have seen a staggering 89% engagement rate. Of those who did engage, we saw a 13% sales conversion which has contributed more than $400K of annualized revenue to the business. While the volumes remain relatively small, the performance of social as a prospecting channel significantly exceeds many of our traditional telesales cross sell campaigns.




Well done Brad and Jordan 🙂


Sorry Bran and Jordan 🙂

Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2016 Lithy Winner
Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2016 Lithy Submission
Lithium Alumni (Retired)
Status changed to: 2016 Lithy Finalist