I am submitting giffgaff for an entry in the Forrester Groundswell Awards this year because I think we really deserve to win. The Groundswell awards focus on those companies which represent excellent and effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or corporate goal.
I feel we have proven that we integrate our members into the way our business works, including using your help to design our products and improve how our processes work. There are many more examples of how great we've all worked together. But I think it is best if you read the article I have submitted as our entry. I hope you all like it!
Forrester Groundswell Award Entry – giffgaff: The mobile network run by you
‘giffgaff’ is an old Scottish term that refers to the process of mutual giving – a name totally in keeping for a company whose passionate and knowledgeable users are not only the front line of customer support but also a driving force in the running of the company itself. In fact, this UK-based mobile phone operator – whose tag line is ‘The mobile network run by you’ – has no huge call centres with agents. It doesn’t even have small call centers – well just one tiny one for user billing inquiries. Instead, the expert ‘giffgaffers’ rely on and contribute to, a growing user-generated pool of knowledge in their Lithium-powered community to get help fast and shape the company’s service offerings.
Active community members get rewarded for running parts of the business including answering questions in the community, attracting new members or helping to promote the company.
As a thank you, community members are rewarded with kudos, elevated reputation and Payback Points which are awarded every month. These points which are accumulated for referring people to the service or helping people by answering questions in the community can be applied against their monthly mobile services, taken as a cash reward or donated to a charitable cause every six Months.
giffgaff’s community is one of the driving forces behind the success of the mobile provider - the network really is powered by its members. Many people pay lip service to being run by members – but what really sets giffgaff apart is the fact that it really has no call centre and all customer service (except for billing queries) is done by the online community.
In fact, giffgaff launched its community even before the mobile service went live.
Members who joined before the company rolled out its beta service in late 2009 are given the special rank of Founders. These people helped shape a lot of what the service is today, including much of the bundles, specials and programs. Truly a community driven company.
Crowd-sourced material keeps giffgaffs costs lowerand lets them pass the savings back to the members – a situation where everyone wins. And just how are these members contributing… Well how are these for stats?
As of July 2010 members have asked over 3000 questions in the ‘help’ forums
the community has responded with over 21,000 answers
100% of the questions were answered by the community
average response time of under 5 minutes
an amazing 95% of queries were answered within the hour
And check out the giffgaffers dedication – the top ten users spent over 7 hours a day on average online during July this year.
But the community isn’t just the ‘giffgaff support team’.
The passionate userbase is also the marketing and R&D engine too. giffgaff members have been spreading the word, as well as making commercials. So far giffgaff members have produced and posted 146 videos online, generating over 500,000 views to date.
And for ideas, the community implemented an Ideas Exchange in February to help collect crowd-sourced ideas to help improve the service further. With over 400 ideas submitted in the last few months, the community has seen over 50 ideas implemented to help improve the mobile service with over 40 more in development.
A great example of how giffgaff is run by its community is the launch of ‘goodybags’, price bundles which are truly unlimited. giffgaff asked its community what they wanted, and received 285 responses, which helped to guide the development of the great value bundle for people.
giffgaff is a business with a difference. It’s run by the community for the community – the epitome of Groundswell at work.