Lithys 2017: Vodafone Germany- Support Savings Titan

Lithys 2017: Vodafone Germany- Support Savings Titan

Our goal is to improve the image through positive service experience and to generate insights.



vodafone.pngCompany:  Vodafone Germany                                                          

Entry submitted by: Marko Krause (Social Media Specialist)

Community: Vodafone Community

Lithy category: Social Support Champion


Vodafone Germany is a telecommunication company based in Germany, with more than 14,000 employees and its headquarters in Duesseldorf. It is part of the Vodafone Group, one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world. Currently, more than 45 million people are making use of Vodafone services in Germany.


Vodafone Community growing 

The Vodafone Social Care strategy includes the Vodafone community, as well as Facebook and Twitter. With 11 million visits per year, the Vodafone community is the largest within the Vodafone Group. Our goal is to improve the image through positive service experience and to generate insights. To this end, over 30 friendly-user tests have been carried out with the help of private groups in the community over the last few years. Based on the philosophy of customers helping customers, an important goal was to reduce the number of contacts in assisted channels such as hotline and e-mail. Within the last 6 years the community has continued to grow: 

1.pngThe ROI Question

At this point our Community had a large and very active user base. As mentioned another important objective of our community is achieving contact deflection. We were pretty sure that we were contributing to this goal but so far we were not able to measure it. The resulting goal was clear. We wanted to make our contribution to the contact deflection visible. But how? First, we searched for best practice examples at other digital touchpoints within Vodafone and were successful. Several online channels used a customer survey for the collection and subsequent calculation of concrete savings.


The survey method is relatively simple and consists of 2 questions:

  1. Could we help you? = helpful-rate (%)
  2. If Yes: Imagine we could not have helped. Would you otherwise have contacted our customer service (e.g., hotline, e-mail)? = “had contacted” – rate (%)

A contact deflection rate (in%) is derived from the responses:


 Finally the savings can be extrapolated for the complete user base using the contact reduction rate and the costs per contact at other channels (hotline, e-mail):


 Our calculation is based on conservative assumptions to avoid showing a too optimistic scenario. On the one hand, we did not take into account visitors who stayed less than 10s in our community, and on the other hand, our cost per contact calculation (€)  is based on the least expensive contact channel.  Accordingly, the community savings (€)  might actually be higher in reality.


The use of the same methodology for collecting the contact deflection rate as in other Vodafone online channels allows us a good internal benchmarking.


Adapting to our community

The next step was to find a way to implement the methodology in our community. During our research, we came across the community experience survey of Lithium. This feature seemed just right for our requirements. We adapted the survey to our needs, prepared a KPI dashboard (including helpful-rate & contact-reduction-rate) and started the survey in July 2016. We were surprised how well the survey was accepted within our visitor base. On average, we receive about 5000 records a month which equates to a conversion rate of almost 1,7% from which the contact-reduction-rate can be calculated. To ensure that we had implemented a plausible methodology, we have had it audited by our financial departments. This gave us the assurance of a clean methodology and realistic KPIs. From our colleagues we were given the advice to carry out an A / B test. This should prove that participants of the survey still respond correctly after exchanging the answer options. For acceptance it is important that the questions are really read and not just blindly clicked. The result was also positive. If we had to explain the numbers, we were well prepared. Finally we sent a report of our contact-reduction savings to our top management.


As a next step it was necessary to observe the KPIs and improve them continuously. We learned that there are 2 drivers to increase the savings:

  1. Number of community visitors
  2. Contact-Deflection-Rate (includes helpful-rate)


With this focus, a number of measures were identified and implemented. These included: 

  • Introduction of a quality process with focus on thread summaries and accepted solutions for a better helpful-rate.
  • Review of all community threads over the last 3 months with a below average helpful-rating and subsequent improvement.
  • Introduction of a weekly quality check of the top 20 threads in terms of helpful-rate.
  • Optimization of the questionnaire for a better understanding of the questions.
  • Various SEO measures to increase the number of visitors.


Our Results: 

The results are impressive. Within 10 months we generated savings of 2.4 million Euro due to avoided contacts in assisted service channels and due to our optimization measures that allowed us to increase the savings by 8%.


On the basis of the results of the project, for the FY 17/18 "Contact Deflection" was included as a fixed target set in Social Customer Care. As a next step we will also check if contact deflection can be determined on Facebook and Twitter.



Quotes from our management:

Christina Hirsch, Director Customer Experience: “The Vodafone Community is a major contributor to customer satisfaction and insights. With our Community, we manage to get life Feedback in real-time on any event and even perform selected product trials with our super-users. By broadcasting information via the community, we save calls, improve quality and have an educated channel to inform quickly. The Community is a comfortable, reliable real-time information channel providing support to a growing amount of customers using this channel.”


Georg Böning, Head of Customer Insight Management: ”The Vodafone Community is a great contributor to customer satisfaction and brand image. Now we can even calculate real savings and show its value in black and white. This is an important step in our community’s history.”


Nicky Ziegler, Customer Operations Manager: ”We are not on the web just to be on the web. We make it countable!“