Lithys 2018: Virgin Media - B2C Community Innovator

Lithys 2018: Virgin Media - B2C Community Innovator

Company: Virgin Media

Company background: We help to create a digital world that makes good things happen: for our customers and the communities in which we operate. Across the UK and Ireland, we offer four multi award-winning services: broadband, TV, mobile and home phone. Since 2009 we’ve worked with Lithium to produce the Virgin Media Community, and have used Lithium’s SMM as a response tool for Social and Community for over five years. Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company. Liberty Global connects over 22 million customers through operations in 12 countries across Europe subscribing to more than 46 million TV, broadband internet and telephony services. It also serves over 6 million mobile subscribers and offers WiFi service through 10 million access points across its footprint. Together we’re making good things happen.

Contact: James Woods

Title: Community & Forum Lead

Related URLs:

Lithy category: B2C Community Innovator

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

My Trials

A custom-built area of the Community for customers to take part in private and confidential product trials.

While board permissions are relatively straightforward, our moderators and trial administrators  and trial managers needed an easier way to collate and display trial information for the right people.

We also wanted to be able to highlight new trial opportunities to our trialist sub-community, and encourage non-members and members alike to register.

The idea to establish the My Trials experience came from, and was developed in-house by our Community management team.

Right Content: Right place

Multiple customised or newly implemented features to reduce the number of new posts where content already exists, and to improve readership of targeted information.  Our Community growth was such that we needed to give customers more information with less effort - reducing the number of new repeated topics.

These features include:

  • Board / Category pages: A custom-built component to feature blog content by tags, delivering the right content in the right place - relevant to board or category.
  • New Post Page: Implemented search-before-posting.
  • New Post Page: Highlighted board-specific featured posts.
  • New Post Page: Used customer blog component to highlight relevant blogs.
  • Mobile-first layout changes
  • Increased implementation of Custom Content boxes.

This programme of enhancements were developed in house by our Community management team.


Lithium Manage View

We're constantly asked for "the view from the community" about an issue of the day. The opportunity to beta-test Manage View gave us the ability to provide instant feedback across all forum boards and categories for specific search terms, trending issues and subjects.

We worked with the team at Lithium to establish how this product - pitched more at campaigns or marketing, could work in a support environment.

YouTube & Product Association

Currently under development is our implementation of Lithium's Product Association. After it's announcement we were keen to see what the support implications of this were - while we don't have a specific product catalogue for sales purposes that could be used, the workings of Product Association could cross the traditional linear problems of Community.

Our products can't always be easily categorised. Is watching Netflix a TV, Internet or Mobile query? So we looked at Product Association and saw away to create a hub for Netflix - for anything we wanted - without losing the bedrock and usability of a conventional forum.

We've worked with our in-house Community team and in consultation with Lithium to make this a reality.

Hand-in-hand with this is a new way to use YouTube video content in a smarter way - similar to the blog content. This idea came through discussions with our video content team, as YouTube as a destination is not as configurable as our own site could be. And by tying it into the development of Product Association, we could showcase help videos in a targets and very specified level.

2. 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.

My Trials

  • Built and tested on stage in an Agile manner.
  • Used Community API to create a live environment, showing latest posts and ratifying role-based user access. 
  • Worked throughout with our main trials leads to ensure their requirements were met.
  • Enforced adoption for all trialists, but encouraged new users to visit using customer URL: which was shared publicly.
  • Ramped up trails and survey announcements to ensure members returned. 

Right Content: Right place

  • Built and tested on stage in an Agile manner.
  • Shared with Operational team during development.
  • When each enhancement ready, deployed to Production.
  • Custom Blog component used Community API calls to filter via label - two different deployments for category / board and for new post page.
  • Search before posting enabled out of the box.
  • Featured posts re-skinned and re-deployed for prominence.
  • Custom Content boxes standardised and consistently deployed across site to allow for messaging on a site / category / board / post level.

Lithium Manage View

  • Tested where incidents arose to ensure features worked as expected.
  • Worked with duty managers to explain how to use, and what more they could get from it.

YouTube & Product Association

  • Building and testing on stage in an Agile manner.
  • Working initially with Lithium to understand the proposition. 
  • Consulting with relevant stakeholders, product managers, technical leads and insight teams to develop potential.
  • After talking with our video content team, it became clear that this needed to be incorporated to make the whole experience even more helpful and content well-rounded for all customers.
  • Have delayed PA launch while we work with Community API and YouTube API to create a Blog / YouTube repository which will serve the content.

3. What were the results? 

My Trials

Using Role based access rules, we’ve been able to create an open and welcoming Trials environment, which is both customisable and completely locked-down.

Dependent on the type of Community member you are, you’ll see different articles and features, and only trialists on specific trials can see the appropriate trial boards, posts and information.

This makes Trial admin a much easier task, and trials more accessible - our Announcements for Trials saw an increase viewership of over 1000% as a result.



Right Content: Right place

We have continued to see an rise in visits, member entrances, registrations and page views, but the number of new posts (year-on-year) has declined for the first time in 8 years.

More Helpful Answers are being viewed, and more relevant - and in some cases evergreen -  blog content is being viewed.



YouTube & Product Association

Very much in-development, but here's a sneak-peek at how our new Product Association pages will look, bringing in supportive content to tagged messages, creating an easily scalable number of product hubs.




Good luck to everyone on the Community Forums!

You're all awesome!


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