Case Studies

See how other companies’ successful social business initiatives are aligned with their overall business objectives.

  • Customer care and peer support at Swisscom

    Swisscom is a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland and offers a full range of products and services for mobile, landline and IP-based voice and data communication. In 2012, the company’s 19’514 employees generated revenues of more than 11 billion Swiss Francs (SWISSCOM, n. d.).

    The company’s corporate strategy highlights outstanding service to all customers as part of its core business value. This is reflected in the company’s brand positioning in the market as a reliable companion in the digital world. In order to achieve and maintain service leadership in the highly competitive Swiss telecommunications market, it is crucial for Swisscom to provide high-quality and easily accessible customer care services.

    With the increasing popularity of social media in Switzerland, Swisscom quickly realised the potential for using these media as a customer support channel. The customer support team started exploring this possibility in 2006 by setting up accounts in several social media channels focused on offering a new access point for customers. The exploration phase enabled the customer support team to identify those channels and approaches that worked well. Today, Swisscom uses both Facebook  and Twitter to provide quick and straightforward support. These channels strive to address all service requests within 24 hours. Although social media account for only approximately 1% of the total customer service requests received annually, it is a key channel that is growing in popularity and one that provides an opportunity to gain more insight into customer needs (Jan Biller, personal interview, 5th March 2013).

    Additionally, Swisscom has enabled a platform that provides peer-to-peer support, which creates significant benefits in terms of brand loyalty and advocacy. The “Swisscom Support Community”, a forum-like platform integrated into the corporate website and run by Lithium, enables customers to provide assistance to other users and to share their knowledge about products and troubleshooting. Up to 98% of all user requests on this platform are in fact solved by other customers. Swisscom’s customer service representatives only monitor the conversations and step in if the community is unable to resolve an issue or if an official statement is required.

    The success of this platform is attributed to the community of super users and brand evangelists with no direct affiliation to Swisscom, who account for about 40% of all posts in the community. The high engagement levels are further fostered by gaming dynamics, which are an integral part of the support community. All activities in the community, such as participating in a discussion or solving a problem, contributes to improving a user’s ranking in the community and to moving up the hierarchy levels of the user base. By providing users with recognisable and achievable status symbols that reflect their rank and reputation in the community, Swisscom motivates users to actively participate.

    Currently, approximately one third of all user service requests are handled by the support community. Additionally, the high quality of user-generated content in the support community has helped deflect service request calls previously handled by the Swisscom call centre, resulting in service cost reduction.

    The success of Swisscom’s social media customer support is based mainly on several key points:

    • The exploration phase enabled the company to identify social media channels and approaches that work best to communicate and engage with customers.
    • An internal social media board, with repre- sentatives from various departments such as Marketing, Corporate Communications, HR, Legal & Compliance, was set up to manage and encourage social media activities.
    • A culture of openness and innovation encouraged creativity in social media activities.
    • Trust in the wisdom of the crowds, specifically the knowledge base of customers.
    • Incorporation of gaming mechanism to motivate users to participate and to contribute to the support community.

    SWISSCOM (n. d.). About Swisscom. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://www. swisscom.ch/en/ghq/portrait/company/company-profile.html

     

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