Lithys 2018: Sky UK - B2C Community Innovator

Lithys 2018: Sky UK - B2C Community Innovator


Company: Sky UK

Company background: Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company. The group serves 22 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. We offer the best and broadest range of content, deliver market-leading customer service and use innovative new technology to give customers a better TV experience, whenever and wherever they choose.

At Sky we ‘Believe in Better’. In the UK, we are part of everyday life for over 10 million customers and we work hard to meet customer needs, provide exceptional customer service and earn their trust.

Contact: Sam Ross

Title: Social Media & Community Manager

Related URLs: 

Lithy category: B2C Community Innovator

Describe the innovation(s) and how you settled on the decision to innovate (user request, Lithium suggestion, internal idea, etc.)

Our ‘Digital First’ vision and strategy is critical to our success. Customer preferences are changing, with more than one-third of our customer service interactions in the UK now being made via digital and social channels. 

We continue to invest heavily in improving our digital and social channels. Our strategic goal is to design and develop best in-class digital and self-service capabilities for our customers that are engaging, flexible, fast and easy to use.

The Sky Community is a critical part of the strategy, it’s where we engage and work together with our customers to make Sky even better. Our mission is to create a fun, engaging and collaborative environment where customers can connect, discuss and offer feedback on our products, services and content.

Tell us about how you made it happen Did you stage it first, who got an early look, how you drove adoption/use, and any iterations you had to make to get it right.

In order to fully realize our vision, we had to transform and optimize the end user experience for our users across all device types.

 We rebuilt the UI/UX from the ground up with the aim of increasing engagement with our users, improving user navigation, optimizing the end user experience and creating a design that reflected the brand whilst having its own unique identity.

Using a forum can be daunting to new members. In order to combat this, we’ve added ‘Getting Started’ to the homepage. New members are prompted to complete a series of everyday tasks that will help them get to grips with the community way of doing things.



Once completed, this component then becomes ‘Welcome back’, an activity feed that presents all replies, likes, mentions and private messages to the member when they log in. This, effectively shows ‘signs of life’ to the member—something that would have been difficult to discern in our previous community.



We’ve also added a ‘proficiency’ level indicator into the member profile cards to allow super-users and community managers to see how adept members are with our products and allow them to change the language which they use to engage them accordingly.



With the Sky Community being so big, moderation and keeping track of member behaviour was, sometimes, beyond the capacity of the platform. We would continually hit the limit for admin notes and have to store this in shared Word docs.



To combat this, we created an Admin notes component from the ground up. By attaching this to a hidden private board, we can now make notes on members with the full functionality of the forum (including text and imagery) and tag members that may have also been involved or targeted—which will also appear on their profiles.



While we’re on the subject of tools to help moderators… we’ve also built a custom Community Toolkit that gives the moderation and management team easy access to a range of tools. Including global stats overview, last 7 days summary, archived content summary, A conversations extract tool. Spam quarantine, 3rd party moderation tool status check via API & platform versioning information.



We found that the default community mailer templates needed a bit of work. So, we worked with Lithium Professional services to rework the code and update the look and feel. Our mailers now have a strong Sky brand and really encourage people to return and get stuck into the community.  An example of the new templates is below.


We’ve also given the community a complete aesthetic facelift that mirrors Sky’s cutting-edge digital brand, improved user navigation and have created a simpler & more content rich experience for our users.


And with this now being responsive, this is now available, for everyone, across all devices.


What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business.

In order to establish requirements, we held numerous workshops with our community management team. This allowed us to analyse current performance metrics and identify how we could best optimize the experience for our users.

 Using an Internal, ‘blackjack’, SDK—we were able to emulate the UI & visual aesthetic of the rest of our digital estate, including but to optimize and shape this for a community platform.

 We opted to utilize the Lithium SDK, rather than Studio, to conduct all development on the platform. This allowed both members of our development team to work on the code simultaneously, while seeing all changes in real time. This, effectively, saved us weeks of development time and allowed us to spend more time working on the platform—rather than waiting on the platform to compile.

All of this was project managed using JIRA & Agile methodologies. These allowed us to split development into 2-week sprints and have clear objectives and expected results for each sprint and identify any bottlenecks or problem areas that may arise. We would also conduct demo sessions to our stakeholders of all the changes made on a fortnightly basis to keep everyone up to speed on the development process.

We worked with Lithium Professional Services to assist us with the development of bespoke components and to help with go live activities.

Our Super-users (Oracles) were also an important part of the development & launch processes. By giving these users access to our staging environment, they were able to get early access and perform usability testing on the new design before it went live. This gave us valuable feedback on the experience and aesthetics.

Following the launch of our responsive redesign, we have been receiving feedback from both our community users and employees telling us how much they love our new design.

It has also been encouraging to see the positive impact of the new design on our key community KPI’s:


  • Member time online continues to increase YOY
  • Our visitors are consuming even more content up 7% YOY
  • Registration growth rate is up 60% YOY
  • Our members are more engaged up 16% YOY
  • Kudos ratio up 17% YOY
  • Join ratio up 79% YOY


  •  View of blog content 215% YOY