Pitney Bowes User Forums


Published on

Pitney Bowes use of social platform for collaborating with its customers: The Pitney Bowes User Forums case study, presented by Matt Broder at the B2B Social Communications Conference on September 16, 2009.

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Welcome. Hope everyone has had a chance to visit. Today, going to cover: Overview of what the forum is How it creates value for Pitney Bowes And why creating a dynamic, vibrant community with lots of participation is essential to creating that value For those that aren’t familiar, forum… Is a venue for peer-to-peer discussion. Is organized around a series of discrete topics, like… Each topic is a “board” -- <click on one of the boards…>
  • … and you find a list of conversation threads. Threads are created by users Anyone can read/browse – you have to be logged in to reply/post Most common are customer service questions – usually problems with a machine – Often these are addressed to our customer service team or to people with specific hardware knowledge <click> But also topics of general interest to our customer base. One that gets a lot of traffic is a discussion of certified letters, e-signature and related issues.
  • Topics like these are all about peer discussion. In this thread, users want to know how other users deal with things like getting approval from their legal departments for switching from the green card to e-certified, what to do if the Post Office doesn’t scan your mail properly and so forth. This thread has been viewed almost 6,700 times!
  • Since active discussion is the heartbeat of the forum, we have several mechanisms in place to encourage it User feedback – kudos and accepted solutions Kudos only positive – some forums have 1-5 stars, but sometimes people gang up and drive a users reputation down Reputation system – users move up through ranks based on their participation. If this reminds you of multi-user game playing, you’re onto something. Founder of Lithium and his brother are in Guiness bwr as first professional gamers and these rewards are based on the reward systems that keep players engaged in games.
  • Let’s take a look at how the forum creates value for Pitney Bowes. There are all sorts of intangible benefits from community – customer engagement, brand loyalty, and so forth – but measurable ROI comes mostly from customer service call deflection. We launched the Forum in April of last year with a specific goal of deflecting calls during rate change – a lot of opportunity there. <read>
  • We launched our community in the last week of March, 2008 [see slides]
  • To estimate our call deflection savings, we used a method outlined by Forrester Research in their book, “Groundswell” - created for a review a Dell Computers support forum. There are more than one kind of message in a forum – some are part of a general dialogue, and some, like this one, are direct answers to specific questions – in this case, “How do you update rates on your equipment?” [see slides]
  • Clearly, our investment in the forums paid off during rate change. We see it continue to pay off in our ongoing ability to provide support. While this ROI was terrific, it was based mostly on the leverage of many users reading answers from our own customer service people…..
  • Take a look at a couple of other things we do on the forum to promote engagement. A the E events have been a huge success – we get high level of participation in special Q&A events like t his when they are based around our customers’ business-critical issues like postal regulations.
  • How do we get there? 3 steps…
  • … but ultimately, it’s the health and vibrancy of the community that will drive success. … and success of the community depends to a large extent on developing superusers. 90-9-1 -- the superusers are the 1% This guy from Fair Isaac – the FICO scores, another discussion topic as exciting as postage meters – is their biggest supersuer. <click & read> <click> – Superusers spend a lot of time in your community. The Dell Computers forum has >100 users who each spend more than 40 hours a week responding to questions from other users! They are enthusiasts and are not paid. Because of the 90-9-1 ratio, getting superusers depends on growing a larger community
  • We’re just starting to get to the point where real superusers are emerging. Our current emerging star, “Karios” is a good example of why these people are so important. This is a recent post – Viewed just 74 times so far… not much reach But that’s because it was only 1 week old when I took this screen grab.
  • But over time, more people search for answers to the same questions and see his response. <see slides> Our task is to grow the community so we develop more superusers who will reach more customers and increase the forum’s ROI.
  • How do we get there? 3 steps…
  • Pitney Bowes User Forums

    1. 1. Pitney Bowes User Forum Matt Broder VP External Communications Pitney Bowes Inc. B2B Social Communications Conference September 16, 2009 [email_address] Twitter: @ctwordsmith
    2. 2. Pitney Bowes User Forum forums.pb.com
    3. 3. Pitney Bowes User Forum Conversation “Threads”
    4. 4. Pitney Bowes User Forum Message posts and replies
    5. 5. <ul><ul><li>Users are rewarded by their peers for useful answers through “Kudos” and “Accepted Solution” tags. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users build reputation through a system of ranks and roles. </li></ul></ul>Pitney Bowes User Forum Reputation and Feedback encourage participation
    6. 6. ROI <ul><li>We launched the Forum in April 2008 with an initial goal of Rate Change Support call deflection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2007, we had had 417,000 phone support calls just related to rate change. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typical support call costs $10 or more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pitney Bowes staffs up temporary call centers to support Rate Change. </li></ul></ul>2008 Rate Change: A Case Study
    7. 7. <ul><li>Drove traffic to forum from all rate change related pages on PB.com and from email </li></ul><ul><li>Volume on May 12, the day RC took effect was > 10 times our average daily volume. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderators from Rate Change group and CSR handled questions </li></ul><ul><li>Customers answered many questions </li></ul>ROI: 2008 Rate Change
    8. 8. <ul><li>Specific answer posting </li></ul><ul><li>20% deflection* </li></ul>ROI: 2008 Rate Change <ul><ul><li>* Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research, 2008 </li></ul></ul>39,065 views 7,817 saved calls $78K savings General info posting 5% deflection* 500,000 total views 25,000 saved calls $250K savings
    9. 9. <ul><li>Call deflection savings for Rate Change issues during May 2008 alone were more than $300K, or 2-3 times our annual cost for the forum. </li></ul><ul><li>This was one month after the Forum was launched. </li></ul>ROI: 2008 Rate Change
    10. 10. Pitney Bowes User Forum “ Ask the Expert” events Think Tank pilot program
    11. 11. Goal of Special Events Keeping users engaged between rate changes Rate change Ask Expert
    12. 12. Community Drives Success And “Superusers” drive the community… <ul><li>The 90-9-1 Rule: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>90% only browse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9% post rarely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1% provide most of the content </li></ul></ul>Dell has more than 100 users who each spend more than 40 hours a week on the forum!
    13. 13. “ Karios” – our rising superuser
    14. 14. “ Karios” – our rising superuser <ul><ul><li>Posts that have been online longer than 6 months have been viewed, on average, more than 2,000 times. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call deflection value to PB of each post is ~$2,000 </li></ul></ul>Each post continues to collect views over time: <ul><ul><li>Total value of Karios’ 53 posts so far: $106,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A user who posted one answer a day would be worth $520,000 in call deflection each year </li></ul></ul>Online longer than 6 mos.
    15. 15. How Do We Get There? <ul><ul><li>Build Traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nurture Superusers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeat </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. ZDNet Article, 6/25/09
    17. 17. PR-Customer Interaction