Just playing with some figures for the fun of it:
The last I saw, only 3 - 4% of giffgaff members received any significant payback by having an active SIM and participating on the forums.
Say these are split equally between the 'social' forums and the other areas, means 2% of members earn payback from GD etc.
Of these let us assume 50% use GG as their main provider, and 50% retain an active giffgaff SIM for back up purposes, and to allow forum participation / payback.
So in terms of retention the figure could be of the order of 1%, which helps but has to be compared with a churn rate in excess of 50%.
The vast majority of giffgaff members never visit, probably never know about the forums until they need assistance.
There's one other factor that needs to be taken into consideration in any discussion concerning the community as a tool for customer retention and that is that only a tiny minority of customers are ever active here in any kind of meaningful way. I'm sure the majority never come here at all.
On the other hand, GD and the rest of the community as an SEO tool (Search Engine Optimisation) is probably an excellent way of keeping giffgaff right up there in search results.
This suggests that the community, aside from providing H&S, is useful in raising awareness for potential customers who, once they've found giffgaff, hopefully find that the product on offer is good value for them.
On the other hand, the community as a customer retention tool will only appeal to those who realise the potential of payback and, as others have pointed out, many of those will simply keep an active SIM with minimal use.
There's no doubt in my mind that giffgaff's best bet for customer retention is to ensure that their offer is attractive, nothing more, nothing less and in a couple of months time we should see some new figures. I wonder if the churn rate will have improved?
The premise that GD is important for customer retention is an interesting one but my experience suggests that it’s not; at least not in that respect. It’s important for SEO figures which has also been mentioned but that’s about all.
Just to pick up on @red_dwarf's point above, I wasn't implying that General Discussion is the most important factor for Customer Retention, clearly the overall giffgaff offering is far more imporant.
I just believe General Discussion is the more valuable part of the giffgaff forum, despite being looked down upon by many.
Customer Retention, SEO (visibility of giffgaff in internet searches) and the cult of belonging all being reasons why I feel involvement in the GD forum should be encouraged, and valued more by the staff and the membership.
H&S is extremely useful, of course, but I reckon GD might have more value, because it provides customers a reason to stick around and stay with giffgaff longer term.
The H&S forum gives users with a problem a quick-fix, but often that might very well be their last interaction with the community.
I reckon there are lots of giffgaff members that spend time on the GD forum, whereas without it they may have moved over to a different network.
I mention this because often I notice a certain amount of scorn towards GD, along with the opinion that its somehow less valuable than other parts of the community.
The thing is, customer retention is extremely valuable!
Alongside Payback I'd guesstimate that GD is responsible for retaining more long-term customers than H&S, by a long margin.
Of course I don't have access to the metrics to prove or disprove this theory, it's just a hunch.
What do you think?
@extreme_one you make good points
Agree with you.
Personally i work night shift generally during night time the H&S section is quiet but i still want to be active in the community so i like to post in GD forum which has some interesting topics to post in.