Lithys 2016: Upwork - Total Community All Star

Lithys 2016: Upwork - Total Community All Star

Untitled38.pngCompany: Upwork

Entry submitted by: Garnor Morantes  (Director)

Community:  Upwork Community

Lithy category:  Total Community All Star


Upwork is an online global talent pool that connects professional freelancers with quality clients. We are the world’s largest talent marketplace with an annual run rate of over $1B+ in freelancer earnings. We have 4M clients and over 10M freelancers who have registered, with approximately 30,000 new freelancer registrations per week.


Our clients and freelancers are distributed globally. Our largest client regions are the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Our largest freelancer regions are US, South East Asia (India, Pakistan, Philippines) and Ukraine.


What Total Community means at Upwork


Filling a void in the future of work

Our community platform is a mechanism for users to connect with each other and with the Upwork brand in ways that contribute to their professional and work-oriented marketplace experience. The forums are used to foster the learning, social and collaborative relationships that are otherwise difficult to come by for freelancers and clients who often work in solitary workspaces.


Giving the brand a Voice

The community also serves as a communication mechanism for the Upwork brand, allowing us to notify and position key product, policy, feature and other changes to a large customer audience. Through our forums and other community channels, we highlight tips, best practices and help content, thereby aiding in case deflection for our customer support teams.


Knowing our customers

As a business, Upwork has a unified digital strategy built on Lithium technologies to monitor, gather and report on customer activity. Through LSW and the Lithium community (LSI), we use these channels to identify:

  • Site performance and incidents
  • Feature usage and reaction
  • Customer sentiment


These insights are then delivered directly to product and business owners and shared with the entire organization in a formal report each week. With this unified approach the organization is closely aligned with customer needs and sentiment and we are rarely, if ever, surprised by customer response.


More about our Community and how it’s evolved


In 2014, we hosted two separate community forums, one each for the Elance and oDesk marketplaces. These forums were hosted on Drupal, and resulted in a combined page view total of ~1.3 million/ year. In November 2014 we launched our Lithium Community for oDesk and migrated over those users and approximately 12 months of historic content.


Within the first 6 months of our Lithium Community, we had surpassed 1.5 million page views and now regularly exceed that number on a quarterly basis.





Performance Results of Our Total Community:

  • Since launch, we’ve consistently maintained a CHI score of 700+ and now reach around 1.5 million page views, each quarter!
  • Consumption is trending higher every month. Users are clicking around the site more with an average of 6 page views per visit.
  • Registrations are continually trending upwards with roughly 1000 new registrations a week.
  • SEO is working very well with the majority of the traffic (83%) coming from Google.
  • We are Best In Class for consumption and join rates.  




Expanding our Total Community - What’s Next?


The Upwork Community has done well to bring our company closer to its customers and to enable members to fill a void that many of us who work in a traditional work environment take for granted. Our high engagement metrics prove this.


We’ve also become a reliable source for information and other resources that can contribute to success on the Upwork marketplace. According to our latest Value Analytics survey, users are coming to the community for answers and find our Community to be a reliable source of customer information and support.


An increased focus on Community Support

To further our progression as a resource for customer support, we recently redesigned our community with a focus on ways to help with case deflection and assist new users in finding the information they need. We changed the way our search worked and provided a convenient call to action so users would know to post their questions right from the search bar. We’ve also added more descriptive text and an introduction video that gives a tutorial style walk-thru for new users to navigate the community. With the new redesign and optimization we aim to achieve the following:   

  • Case deflection of Customer Support tickets;
  • Increased CHI;
  • Organized content to improve the user experience.


Launching LSW


An important step in our connection with our Social and Support teams was the launch of LSW. LSW went live at Upwork on February 2, 2016 and has helped our teams to be better equipped when addressing user concerns. Through LSW’s capabilities our teams have been able to seamlessly engage with our users, escalate communications to other teams, and respond to user's posts, questions and requests better than before.


LSW has helped in the following areas:

  • Time to reply (avg. 3 mins faster): Because our teams can manage all activity from one location and leverage macros, bulk responses, etc. they are able to respond faster on social and in the community. The Lithium App also allows our CS agents to access tickets/messages through their mobile devices, which helps them stay informed/reactive when an urgent case comes in outside of their work hours.
  • Queue management: Posts are flagged and deposited into appropriate queues, based on “@” mentions and other keywords. As a result, the teams are able to assign areas to specific personnel.  Tags help our agents ensure that more urgent issues take precedence over others in case of a backlog. The queue and priority system makes it easy to ensure everyone's taking care of priority posts first and nothing gets missed.
  • Visibility: Because of the cross-functional dashboards and supervisor views our community, social and CS teams can see activity across channels, allowing us to collaborate more intuitively.  For example, outages and other incident activity have been identified via email ahead of our Engineering teams allowing us to use LSW to help with incident alerting and management.
  • Tracking/User management: Agents can add user notes and are quickly able to identify a user’s social influence (followers) and social history (past posts/tweets). The customer conversion history and internal notes make both internal coordination and customer responses easier and better. Agents can tag customers (VIP, problem customer, Upwork employee/associate, etc.), store customer information (UIDs, contact info) and make internal notes to build a collective knowledge base. This allows us to readily handle inquiries, giving each agent a full perspective of who that customer is.