2021 Customer Awards: Sky UK - Keep Calm and Carry On

2021 Customer Awards: Sky UK - Keep Calm and Carry On


Company: Sky UK

Company background: At Sky UK, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and our Community is central to the digital service strategy.

Contact: Nima Baniamer

Title: Community and Social Senior Product Owner

Related URLs: helpforum.sky.com

Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On

1. How did your team shift your existing strategy to better engage customers during a crisis?

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed us as a business. Our 23,000 national staff had to pivot in such uncertain times, and as part of this, only 30% of our contact centres which serve 12 million customers were operating. This forced the business to think about how we could serve our customers with still the best customer service but through digital routes.

The Digital service team shifted its strategy completely and put Community, previously a silo, in the centre of customer deflection. We:

  • Promoted Community as the primary resolution method on the end of help journeys on sky.com, which would historically promote calling as a primary action.
  • Signposted Community journeys at the top of the funnel on sky.com, presenting tangible routes and as a platform customers could trust.
  • We promoted Community in the customer IVR to let customers know about the power of community and how they could use this as a way to get their response quicker and easier than staying on the line with us.

Through this action, we saw huge spikes into our Community during March 2021. We saw a 333% increase in visits from sky.com, a 187% increase in new membership, a 474% increase in new discussions and a 158% increase in new answers marked during this peak.

*% changes are compared to February 2020 (Post 19/20 strategy and pre covid-19)*% changes are compared to February 2020 (Post 19/20 strategy and pre covid-19)

The peak was sustained however, as we saw our 2020 Q4 performance outperform 2019 Q4 in nearly every single way. By the end of 2020, our visits were still 84% up (and we breached 500k weekly visits for the first time, putting our Community on par with sky.com/Help), a 137% increase in new discussions, a 135% increase in new answers and an overall 607% increase in badges awarded to our users highlighting overall gamification-linked rewards – users were not just joining our Community, they were now staying there.

Screenshot 2021-06-04 at 16.13.42.png

Through AB testing on the Community itself, we were also able to adjust and pivot our Covid-related messaging to customers, in turn saving the business £343k per annum – that alone helped pay for our Khoros contract!

We also saw sales opportunities during a time when you wouldn’t think this was successful. As customers became more financially conscious, we promoted offers and deals available to them, personalised messaging through Adobe Target and we increased our News output showcasing the value-for-money our customers can enjoy – this alone helped 1.3k new incremental referrals into our Shop pages a week.

On top of all of this, we also managed to launch an entirely new Gamification system for our users (and we’re working on Khoros to share best practice with their Gamification roadmap for 2021/22), we launched an entire redesign of the whole website to bring it into the 21st century, and we celebrated our 10th birthday with a wealth of activities and events that celebrated the most important people here, our users.

2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis?

We knew our Community could serve our customers well, but a major blocker we had was serving account queries for our customers, something we know account for roughly 20% of all interactions on the Community.

We worked with Khoros on an incredibly new, ingenious, industry-leading platform called Community Messaging – giving superusers the opportunity to escalate a post they deemed as needing account access. These escalations would then go into Care and into a messaging team who would be able to trigger an asynchronous chat with the customer, ID&V them and then resolve their issue.

To achieve this however, we had to build a new operational Community Messaging team from scratch – no mean feat during a global pandemic!

We initially started with 10 advisors and 11 engineers, who spent over 3,000 hours collectively responding to public queries on the Community itself – in total they wrote nearly 15k posts and were responsible for 1,000 new answers. We then got 5 of these advisors set up and trained on the Care platform where they have been looking after Messaging escalations ever since. In the past year, we have had:

  • Over 5,400 escalations – this in our messaging deflection formula equates to 2,700 calls saved in the contact centre, which equates to £15k saved.
  • Only 270 of these escalations were wrong escalated ones, and only 250 instances a customer couldn’t be helped and had to call us.
  • CSAT score of 84% average across the year, showing very positive sentiment.
  • Advisors have sent over 32,000 responses
  • An average conversation lasts 15 mins and average response time in the conversation is just under 4 minutes

Here is some of the fantastic feedback our customers have given us too:

Screenshot 2021-06-04 at 16.15.57.pngfeedback1.jpg

Screenshot 2021-06-04 at 16.17.50.pngScreenshot 2021-06-04 at 16.17.40.png

The messaging team have also been glowing in their feedback about the Care platform, with some of them having even indicated that this new part of their jobs have “given them a reason to wake up in the morning” and has really “made me re-consider what I want to do with my career”.

Beyond the trial and 2020, we’re also now investigating into how we can get this Community Messaging team and existing Social operational teams to work closer together and feed all digital escalations into one place. The future is very bright, and these big operational shifts during Covid-19 have not been easy – but for our customers and our colleagues, it’s been totally worth it!

3. What success metrics did you use to determine if your shifts in strategy and process had the desired outcomes? What were those quantifiable outcomes?
As you can see above, our metrics speak for themselves. We’ve seen a new benchmark in performance since Covid:


Community health has never been it’s strongest, and in 2020, we hit our overall CHI metric peak on record twice. While performance has been dipping since these peaks, it still remains much higher than where we were at in 2019.

We’ve also been looking at digital transfer – the tendency for a customer to call us on the back of a journey on Community. Our transfer rates remain the lowest in digital service, with only 1-2% of our users needing to call us about a query after browsing or posting on the Community. Furthermore, through AB testing, we were able to prove that only 8% of users going down the messaging journey had to call us (and that’s purely because our agents right now don’t have the right skillsets to support every single journey – something we’re looking to change in 2021).

Through testing alone, we were able to save £343k, pretty much paying for the Community itself, let alone the benefit we have achieved through all the additional new content and answers that will help future customers. We proved in 2020 that a customer has a 26% less likelihood to call us if they viewed answered content, compared to when they didn’t – the new answers generated in 2020 were alone able to save the business £2.5k per week.

More importantly, however, and perhaps less tangibly, we have shifted perspectives internally about the power of Community and what it can do. We showcased our success to UK CEO level Chris Stylianou and the word of Community has got so powerful that we now have team leaders of huge upcoming launches coming to us and ensuring Community is in scope for digital service; something we had to retrospectively do previously after launch knocking on a load of doors to get noticed. It’s hard to put a success metric to this, but we are sure to reap the rewards in terms of community health, metrics, and calls deflected down the line.

Simply put, it’s been a staggering year for Community – so much change, innovation and progress, done during a global pandemic where many other Communities just paddled to stay afloat. Our digital service director called 2020 “the year of Community” and we couldn’t agree more! We didn’t just keep calm and carried on, we kept calm and totally smashed it.


Amazing results! Happy customers + happy agents = Success!