User communities

4 Min Read

What the F*Q? How dynamic user generated content beats static FAQs

T-Mobile leverages user-generated content in its online FAQs for better SEO, more pageviews, and reductions in support calls. Here’s why UGC is such a powerful addition to online customer service.

For wireless carriers, providing great customer service is a strategic necessity. The telco business is competitive, and service can be the difference between retaining customers or churning them.

As the Netherlands’ largest wireless carrier, T-Mobile NL has long been an innovator in the area of service. As far back as 2009, it adopted a “digital-first” support strategy.

As part of this digital-centric approach, T-Mobile provides online FAQs to help customers get the most out of their devices. But T-Mobile’s FAQs are unique.

Compared to the FAQ pages of another wireless carrier, T-Mobile’s receive more visits from search engines, include more relevant content, and do a better job answering users’ questions.

What’s different? T-Mobile’s page is powered by user-generated content (UGC). T-Mobile’s FAQs link dynamically to the company’s community knowledge base, so they provide the exact answers that customers need and are always up to date.

The other carrier’s FAQs, on the other hand, are static. Created by the carrier’s support agents, these FAQs don’t reflect the actual questions that customers are asking – merely the topics that the support team thinks are relevant.

And, in addition to providing customers with better answers, UGC-powered FAQs offer businesses a host of benefits.

What advantages has T-Mobile seen from its UGC-first approach to FAQs?

What the F*Q? How dynamic user generated content beats static FAQs

UGC generates more visits and pageviews

On this blog, we’ve talked about the power of user opinions to shape buying decisions. Because consumers value content created by their peers, search engines typically rank UGC-heavy sites higher in their results.

That leads to more visibility – and more traffic – for those sites.

How effective is UGC at driving search traffic? T-Mobile’s “Toestelhulp” acquires over 60 percent more organic traffic than the other carrier’s FAQ page, largely because T-Mobile relies on UGC in its FAQs.

Higher search rankings aren’t the only reason for these results. Another factor is that user-generated content resembles the language people use when they run a web search. Visitors to a UGC page are more likely to find their exact question – with an answer written by a real person like them. That relevance is hard for static FAQs to match, and it ultimately leads to more clicks.

Dynamic UGC results in faster, better answers

Consumers are pressed for time, and getting support is often a time suck. This is why digital support is so popular: it enables people to search for the answers when they need them, instead of having to wait on hold.

UGC solutions, by delivering relevant and timely content, are especially useful for providing support in the moment. Because it’s created by real product users, UGC is more likely to provide helpful answers.

Plus, T-Mobile’s FAQ are constantly being updated with community input, so they do a better job addressing customers’ ever-changing needs.

Illustrating this dynamic is “drop-off” data from T-Mobile and its competitor. Drop-offs refer to the number of people leaving a site, and in this context, they show how many people successfully find an answer to their support query.

T-Mobile sees 81 percent of visitors drop off of its UGC-powered FAQ page. Its competitor’s FAQ page has a drop-off rate of 65 percent. That’s a significant difference – and it demonstrates how T-Mobile’s FAQs do a better job answering customer questions in real time.

UGC slashes costs

One of the primary benefits of digital support is scalability. Whether it’s email, chat, a community, or social media, digital channels allow organizations to provide care to more people in less time.

Adding UGC to the mix has an especially big impact on scalability. Our research with T-Mobile shows that UGC-infused FAQs greatly reduce the need for conventional support.

T-Mobile’s UGC-powered FAQs reduce call volume by a factor of 3X, compared to the competition’s FAQ. (Our analysis looked at 4 steps in the customer journey to see where people drop off to call a support agent.)

These results have been replicated by other brands in the telco industry. Earlier this year we conducted a study of 17 European telco communities and found that new ones generate savings of $0.60 per customer per year. Mature telco communities – those at least two years old – generate $1.75 in annual per-customer savings.

This illustrates another benefit to UGC-based support: The returns it generates will grow with time. Today, T-Mobile saves millions annually by putting UGC at the center of its support strategy.