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Lithys 2018: Upwork - Digital All-Star

Lithys 2018: Upwork - Digital All-Star

Company: Upwork

Company background:

Upwork is the largest global freelancing website. It enables businesses to find and work with highly skilled freelancers. As an increasingly connected and independent workforce goes online, knowledge work — like software, shopping and content before it — is shifting online as well. This shift is making it easier for clients to connect and work with talent in near real-time and is freeing professionals everywhere from having to work at a set time and place. Our company’s mission is to create economic opportunities so people have better lives.

Contact: Lena Ellis

Title: Senior Community Manager

Related URLs:,,,

Lithy category: Digital All-Star

1. Tell us about your digital customer experience: When and why did digital CX become a focus and priority for your organization and what technology(ies) did you decide to implement to help you, and what problem(s) does it help solve?

Digital CX has always been our focus.  As a company, Upwork has a unified digital strategy built on Lithium technologies since 2014, to offer a more customer-centric approach. We utilize Lithium Social Media Management and the Lithium community to listen to our customers, expand our offerings to address unmet needs, and put our customers at the core of the decision-making process.

Our community platform and social channels are mechanisms for customers to connect with each other and with the Upwork brand in ways that contribute to their professional growth and success. 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.

Having this digital CX focus allows us to communicate more effectively with our customers and advocates. We are able to learn our customer needs and share them with proper teams to be added to our product roadmaps. We are able to quickly position key product, policy, feature and other changes to a large customer audience. We are able to highlight tips, best practices and help content, thereby aiding in case deflection for our customer support teams.

The insights from SMM and LSI (Community) are then delivered directly to our Product team and business owners, as well as 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.

2. What are the benefits of having both a community and a social media management platform for your organization? How does it improve your strategy for digital customer engagement?

There is an extreme value to collecting insights from our community and social channels and using that to drive where product is going and other team processes. When our customers feel connected, they’re typically more loyal and better brand advocates. Clients spend more and freelancers may earn more- ideally they’re more valuable as a whole.

Having both a community and social media management platform helps us connect better with our customers and our teams are now better equipped when addressing customer concerns. Through SMM’s capabilities, our teams have been able to seamlessly engage with our customers, escalate communications to other teams, and respond to their posts, questions and requests better than ever before.

We have the ability to reply to concerns faster and escalate issues quicker because SMM  houses all the information in one area. The customer conversation history and internal notes make both internal coordination and customer responses easier and better.  It allows us to readily handle inquiries, giving each agent a full perspective of who that customer is and our past conversations with them.

The SMM App also allows our team to access tickets/messages through their mobile devices, which helps everyone  stay informed/reactive when an urgent case comes in outside of their work hours.

Also,  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 and decrease the time needed for resolving issues.

3. What are your digital results? Please provide your business outcomes and results because of your digital customer experience approach in quantifiable metrics (e.g. revenue, Net Promoter Score, cost savings).

We maintain a very vibrant and active community with metrics that continue to trend upward year over year. Our CHI score has peaked at 821 and we’ve consistently maintained a range between 750-800.

Our pageviews from last year, 2017, increased by 25% and our overall visits increased by 68%. In 2017, our engagement levels were:

  • 240,000 Active Community Users
  • 150,000+ Community Posts
  • 9.2+ Million Community Pageviews
  • 2.2+ million Visits with 1.5+ million logged by Unique Visitors

Lithium helps define the digital customer experience on Upwork while delivering business value. The Lithium community has driven incremental traffic into the Upwork site, these SEO visits in return boosted revenue by turning visitors into customers leading to over $7 million in gross sales volume.

Lithium has also helped us to reduce operating costs, as our community serves as a support channel for case deflection.  The resolution rate of those seeking help in our community is 51%, which has led to a decrease of $1.2 million in customer support costs.


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