Entry Submitted by: Candace Sims (candace_sephora) Community Manager
Community: Sephora BeautyTalk (sephora.com/beautyadvice)
Lithy Categories: Best Social Customer Experience
Best Social Customer Experience Program
Sephora consistently strives to provide the best client experience, beauty expertise and services in the industry, whether it be in our stores, online, or via mobile device. We partnered with Lithium Technologies in September 2010 to launch our online beauty community BeautyTalk with a few high level goals in mind:
To build the Sephora brand and community,
To establish Sephora’s expertise in the beauty world,
And to drive sales and loyalty
But our main objective was simple: to create a space where our clients could get their most pressing beauty questions answered.
BeautyTalk quickly became a thriving and vibrant community, a place where beauty enthusiasts around the world could meet and share stories. But a few months into our launch, we conducted a general client survey and received some interesting results.
We learned that 65% of our clients would prefer to get beauty advice from not only their peers, but from beauty experts as well. And if there is one thing Sephora has no shortage of, it's beauty experts! In August of 2011 we launched our Ask the Experts program with the help of our Sephora PRO artistry makeup team.
Sephora PROs are our handpicked elite team of makeup artists who travel the world to work as key makeup artists at events such as New York and Paris Fashion Week, and The Sundance Film Festival. Together with our highly trained beauty advisers in our call center, 6 PRO team members make up our roster of Beauty Experts, who are online between the hours of 6 am – 9 pm everyday answering beauty questions.
I f a client asks a question in the Ask the Experts board, they are guaranteed a response from one of our beauty experts.
The Ask the Experts board immediately took off, and it is now in the Top 3 most viewed boards in the community.
We are very proud to offer our clients a point of differentiation from other beauty communities in that there is now a place where you can get beauty advice not just from your peers, but from trained experts with experience in the field.
We have also just recently launched a Live Chat program, where clients can get one on one real-time advice from experts in certain fields (past live chats participants have include skincare expert Ole Henriksen, Dr. Dennis Gross and tattoo artist and makeup guru Kat von D).
These live chats have given us a whole new way to engage with clients, and the response has been tremendous, with the chats garnering over 20,000 views each and hundreds of questions.
With our Ask the Experts program, we are bringing the knowledge of trained professionals right to the computer screens of our eager client base and providing a useful, fun and engaging social customer experience.
Feedback from our clients - What do you love about Sephora’s Ask the Experts program?
“Everyone I know turns to me for beauty advice, but it’s nice to know there's somewhere I can go when I have a question too!” - fakeasnonfiction
“I love being able to research online before buying and asking the experts questions about the products. They can tell us stuff or about products we would probably never know.” - makeupobesessed
“They have really detailed answers that contain pretty much everything you need!” - rockstarg
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Entry Submitted by: Becky Scott (lolagoetz) Tech Zone Success Manager
Community: Cisco Tech Zone
Lithy Categories: Best New Community
Community Launched: 10 October 2011
Our organization tends to be very email-centric, as many companies are. One of the problems we had with email was the lack of centralization, accounting, and the ability to capture and reuse knowledge.
It’s tough to search through thousands of emails to find an answer to your question. And what happens if you join a group mid-discussion? You don’t get the benefit of prior conversations.
The value of the contributions and the impact experts were making went unnoticed as the mailing lists didn't feed into the overall metrics system.
We decided to go with a community-based platform so we could auto-archive discussions and provide a rich, comprehensive and flexible reputation model. This allowed us to transition into a reusable content model. The adoption rate in our organization has been phenomenal, with many more people visiting than our original roll-out group. In fact, we've gone viral! Word of mouth has increased our visitors to three times what we expected – and we only launched the community in October.
In order to accelerate wide adoption we have ensured that our community is not a stand-alone tool. It is seamlessly tied to the engineers' workflow and deeply integrated with our other service delivery tools. To this end we’ve made 100+ enhancements to the basic Lithium community, based on our business needs.
The forums reputation model has helped us acknowledge contributions that would have previously gone unrecognized. Engineers who never participate in email discussions beyond asking questions are actively posting answers in the forums and helping other engineers. And they’re competing to see who can get on our leader board.
But the biggest win for our group at Cisco has been the ability to bring experts together from all areas. Engineers from across the globe are asking and answering questions for each other.
Collaboration is growing and we’re seeing instances of these conversations helping other engineers solve cases faster.
Cases that were taking months to get a resolution are getting answers on our forums within days and solving issues for our customers because of the ease of collaboration in our community.
And it’s accelerating engineer learning, too, as anyone can read documents and update their knowledge on new products and how to troubleshoot issues. And we’re seeing engineers do just that, and helping other engineers with their new skills.
"Tech Zone has been by far the best forum/resource for helping engineers that I have seen in my past 5 years of TAC experience." – Cisco TAC engineer, Anoop Saxena.
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Entry Submitted by: Becky Scott (lolagoetz) Tech Zone Success Manager
Community: Cisco Tech Zone
Lithy Categories: Best Community Technical Integration
Cisco’s internal engineer community 'Tech Zone' was built from the ground up by engineers… for engineers. The community developers are also a part of our target audience.
From the beginning we wanted an agile space where we could incorporate constant feedback and enhancements.
When our community opened for business, it came with an Idea Exchange to solicit any and all feedback from our users. Our users did not disappoint.
We started out by identifying where we want to reuse knowledge. We link open cases to posts and articles to track which content is helpful in solving a case.
We wanted search to be front and center in our workflow, so we implemented a search-before-post feature that surfaces related content – and displays the number of kudos and case links right there in the results. And we’ve used REST APIs to deeply integrate our community into our systems, such as our trouble ticketing portal, our knowledge creation strategy, and our corporate instant messaging system.
Our community is also an application development platform. In order to accelerate wide adoption we have ensured that our community is not a stand-alone tool, rather it is seamlessly tied to the engineers' workflow and seamlessly integrated with (and on an equal footing with) the other service delivery tools. To this end we’ve made 100+ enhancements to the basic Lithium community, based on our business needs. This is where our business drives the tool instead of the tool driving the business. No limited capabilities here!
We’ve taken Lithium’s reputation system and not only incorporated it into our community, but we’ve added custom elements and added our own variables to Lithium’s already strong use of formulas for ranking.
We've built a customized leaderboard to highlight the accomplishments of our users based on our enriched reputation formulas. The result is a reputation system that effectively implements weighting factors to allow us to emphasize our organizational priorities and provides a checkpoint for our engineers.
As we see important behaviors that we want to encourage, we can build additional custom components right into the reputation. This reputation model also feeds into a rich custom metrics portal so engineers can self-evaluate their technical growth as well as arming them with tangible data for performance reviews and career development discussions.
Engineers need a quick way to preview information to see if it’s relevant to the case they are working. So we integrated a locally-grown case preview tool that allows our engineers to preview a portion of a case or bug. This has been hugely helpful in being able to find a quick answer within our community.
And we have even more awesome integrations in the works. Our engineers wanted a way to bump a thread without bumping the reply count, so we’re currently implementing a "raise hand" feature that allows a user to draw attention to a thread in progress in order to ask for additional help.
“The ability to quickly get help from experts and the ease which knowledge can be captured and re-used by others makes Tech Zone the perfect tool for us. I think we should also recognize the [Cisco] and Lithium teams for being so receptive to TAC's feedback and their willingness to tweak/ implement new features, as this is a huge part of what makes Tech Zone successful in my eyes.” – Cisco TAC engineer, Mike Robertson.
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Entry Submitted by: Kenneth Refsgaard Community Manager (kendoji)
Community: TomTom Discussions (discussions.tomtom.com)
Lithy Categories: Best SuperFan Story or Insight
When we launched TomTom Discussions on 1st March 2011 we knew that superfans would be important to the success of the community. And it didn’t take long before a few very actively engaged users emerged.
A few months after launch we created a private area for our top users, which marked the beginning of our superuser program. Since then we’ve been consistently awed by the knowledge and passion shown by these customers. We’d like to introduce a few of them.
In the early days of our community, one of our superusers was single-handledly responsible for 10% of the posts on the forums. The truly remarkable thing, though, is his encyclopedic knowle
dge of our products. It’s safe to say that he knows our products better than just about any of us! And we often - only half-jokingly -explain to colleagues that everything he posts should be assumed to be 100% correct.
In the year since we have been live he has authored 250 solutions and posted almost 4,000 times!
Creating that Community Spirit:
Two of our superusers have been instrumental in helping us manage the community.
One thorny topic had become quite challenging to manage, when one of our superfans went on a mission to turn things around. He posted in the thread but also made great efforts reaching out in private to the most vocal troublemakers, urging them to be constructive. Most of them changed their behaviour immediately! These noble superfans have helped to maintain a friendly atmosphere on the community for everyone.
Above and Beyond:
Several of our other superfans spend countless hours providing direct support to customers who are having problems.
This even goes to the extent of offering to provide help over the phone, or using Google Translate to help customers in languages that they don’t speak!
And in our private area we receive a constant flow of valuable feedback from all of our superfans. This can be about product issues, website errors and much more. In fact, some of our colleagues from the product teams have learned that our private area is one of the best places to get timely and accurate product feedback, and have started monitoring it on a daily basis!
We all pay a lot of attention to the private area, and make sure that our superfans have a fast and direct line of communication to us.
There are many more examples we could mention, but possibly the greatest thing we’ve seen happen with our superfans is the warm and friendly relationship they’ve built with each other, and with us.
The private area is a board that’s full of laughter, honesty and mutual support. The bonds that our superfans have built with each other, and their relentlessly helpful and constructive discussions on the community, are infectious – they are really the ‘leaders’ of the community, and we often see new users starting to emulate their behavior (even if they started out as detractors!).
Our community is a great success, but we owe it all to our loyal superfans.
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Entry Submitted by: Catherine Buzzitta Community Manager (cbuzzitta)
Community: Webroot Community ( community.webroot.com )
Lithy Categories: Best New Community (Launched after 1 June 2011)
Community Launch Date: 2 February 2012
Webroot is the perfect example of a company that needed a community.
We had a compelling story to tell, a revolutionary product that people wanted to talk about and a loyal army of advocates. Also, customer service and product innovation are at the crux of our business success.
Yet with so many undefined channels of communication, we struggled to have the kind of dialogue we needed to really drive our products forward and to resolve customer issues quickly.
It became clear that Webroot customers needed a place to talk to Webroot employees, ask questions, find answers, suggest ideas for our products, and stay in the loop on security industry news. And so with the help of Lithium’s team and our small project development team, we created the Webroot Community.
Success! It appears that a Community is exactly what our Webroot fan base wanted!
After an initial "sneak peek" launch on February 2, 2012 to about 20,000, we gained 30,000 page views in the first five days.
We launched to our entire customer base on February 15th. In just over a month since our public launch, we had over 525,000 page views and over 190,000 user sessions.
After one month, we had 770 registered users - 18% being Webroot employees. This metric is a testament to not only our early success in registrations, but also company involvement.
We have 34 ideas in our Ideas Exchange and all are reviewed bi-monthly with our Product Team. Half of the ideas have already been scheduled to be implemented in the next quarter.
We have 1493 posts and 681 kudos in our Community - with the most activity being in our 'Mobile for Android' forum. This showed us that our users have a lot of interest and questions about our Android app - which then spurred involvement from our mobile team in the Community.
WHAT LED TO THE SUCCESS?
The "sneak peek" roll out was huge because our highly technical advocates. They enjoy being a part of our betas, so we leveraged that in the Community as well.
We featured the community on Webroot’s homepage at the very top of the page, giving it easy accessibility.
We promoted the Community on our social channels, in our email newsletter, in our product and at events.
Webroot Employees were appropriately trained and encouraged to participate in the Community.
We engaged with our superusers early on - PMing them and making them feel important using ranks and roles.
We sent a friendly email out on behalf of the Community Manager asking for early feedback from select users.
We created an "intro" video, welcoming users to the Community and explaining how to use it.
In addition to setting up and customizing the overall architecture of the Community, we also implemented a secure SSL login to remain consistent with our security protocol. (very important to this security-savvy community)
We continue to evolve our forums to make it easier for users to set up their accounts (e.g. “Helpful Pointers for New Members,” a new internal-use-only employee forum, and a business forum to launch alongside our new business product).
We used the Community to cross-promote offers and sweepstakes.
In just one month, the Webroot Community developed into a knowledge resource for security-related topics and a rapid-fire response system for customer support issues. In fact, the response was so great we had to bring on additional support team members to remain dedicated to resolving customer issues on the community.
As a result, the correspondence between our support team, moderators, administrators, and users has been nothing short of impressive.
And lastly, don't take OUR word for it.
Hear what the Webroot Community has to say!
“Any questions or suggestions about your Webroot product, this is the forum to post them. Excellent Forum.”
“I have to say again Congrats to all of the Webroot teams from Development all the way to Support and now the Community Support Forums keep up the great work!”
“Thank you to the Webroot support team for all of your efforts! You ALL are the BOMB!”
“Well done. Keep up!”
"Nice to see Webroot with its own forum and a very nice once as well..I like the forum options...Love WSA keep up the good work."
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