Case study: Telfort

Improve customer contact, product development and call reduction with social customer service


Annual savings through call deflection


Yearly visitors find an answer on the community


Of questions are answered by customers

Telfort (part of KPN) is a Dutch discounter that offers simple, reliable services for mobile telephone, television and internet. 

Telephone and internet products and services are indispensable in day-to-day life. Since customers need to be able to trust that these will work, reliability is very important for Telfort. Since Telfort was established in 1996, the company has worked hard to deliver the best products and services to its customers. All of its products are aligned with customer preferences, and every customer is regarded important. Above all, the organization wants to be transparent in everything it does to its over 2 million customers. Always keen to keep improving, Telfort employees are ever-vigilant for ways to do it better, smarter, differently or with more fun. Learning from customers is a major focus, with the Telfort community playing a key role.

Telfort community

The Telfort community has a long history. Ten years ago, the first initiative was launched: a discussion forum for Tiscali (one of Telfort’s predecessors).

When KPN acquired Tiscali in 2006, the forum was adopted by Telfort, leading Telfort webcare employees to play an active role in the forum. The number of members rose sharply after that period. Its growth was fed by the corporate style introduced by Telfort in 2011; the forum migrated from the phpBB open source software to the community platform built by inSided in 2012. More members join the forum every day; the counter is now at nearly 36,000 members.

Community objectives

  • Reduce the number of calls because many visitors will be able to find an answer on the forum without needing to ask a question themselves.
  • Increase traffic to the Telfort website through well-indexed forum content.
  • Boost the percentage of customers helping customers on the forum, thus reducing pressure on web care.
  • Make an active contribution to Telfort customer satisfaction (online and offline).
  • Improve products and services based on customer feedback.
  • Develop an appealing, easily accessible and transparent platform to facilitate interaction about Telfort products and services for both customers and noncustomers. 


How do you grow from a user-driven discussion forum to a fully fledged, active community that includes a service function?

On the forum, customers find answers to their questions, offer feedback and help other customers. Over 100,000 visitors find their way to the forum every month. Nearly 500 topics are posted monthly, with over 2500 responses. The topics are diverse, ranging from questions about internet, networks and connections to land lines. 

The structured dedication to the organization and the right choice of platform were the key factors in the forum’s success. The Telfort forum was updated by inSided in mid-2014. The innovations included improved functionalities and a completely revamped moderation environment for the webcare team.

Helping each other

Structured dedication to the organization and the right choice of platform were the key factors in the forum’s success. The Telfort forum was updated by inSided in mid-2014. The innovations included improved functionalities and a completely revamped moderation environment for the webcare team.

The new forum environment gives customers immediate access to unanswered questions. When customers want to help other customers, it’s easy to find which questions have not been answered yet. ‘Help others’ is a clear action with its own spot in the forum navigation. The fact that Telfort customers are eager to help others is evident from the fact that over 50% of the questions are answered by customers.

Following and inspiring each other

In order to continue promoting interaction between customers, the forum also includes a number of new functionalities, like a following system, activities page and the option to rank posts.

The system makes it possible to follow interesting users and start conversations with them that only the participating users can read. The activities page offers an overview of the actions that each user has taken on the forum, like posting topics and answering questions. The overview also shows when a user earns a badge (an icon displayed beside the user name that can be earned by performing certain actions on the forum).

Previous research conducted in cooperation with VU University Amsterdam shows that members greatly appreciate the interactive contact and may become more active as a result. These developments contribute to interaction and increased member activity.

Rewarding each other

In addition to mutual contact, expressions of appreciation can also be an important motivator. Telfort has set up a special reward system on the forum for that purpose. Besides the badges referred to above, this system includes reputation points. These points are awarded when members like a forum post. The number of likes is specified beside the post. This makes it easy to see which posts have received lots of likes, so the customer who posted the message feels appreciated.

The option of using a Facebook account to log in also makes it easier to take an active role in the forum.

The community allows Telfort to improve its products and services. This is extremely valuable to Telfort and to our customers. The organization saves on costs (for example through call reduction) and has the opportunity to show what it stands for. It is also wonderful to see how customers brainstorm to find solutions with us.

Hugo de Vries

Community Manager


The Telfort forum has achieved provable results. The costs saved significantly outweigh the costs incurred. Results are achieved in call deflection and customer satisfaction, reducing churn and improving products and services.

  • Over 1 million euros saved through call deflection: 75% of visitors are looking for specific information, and 37% find the answer to their question. Since over 144,000 visitors come to the forum every month, more than 44,000 customers are served by the forum on a monthly basis. 56% of them would have called customer service. If we assume 5 euros per call, Telfort saves over one million euros on calls every year by maintaining the forum.
  • Improving products and quality through pilots: In addition to offering an effective service channel, the forum is also used to improve products and quality. In a separate members-only section, members share their observations about specific products or services with each other.
  • Stronger customer focus through service and interaction via the forum: The use of the forum as a service and co-innovation channel increases customer focus. Answers provided on the forum are accessible to everyone.
  • Optimal findability: Over 60% of forum visitors land on the forum via Google (representing more than 10% of the total search engine traffic to
  • Lower churn: The combination of customer engagement in the forum and the improved services and products means that forum members are less likely to switch to a different provider. The personal attention on the forum makes customers feel more connected to Telfort. Research shows that engaged forum members are more loyal to Telfort.
  • Savings far exceed costs: 1.2 million euros is saved annually through call deflection alone. Thousands and thousands more are saved by using online pilots rather than having Telfort schedule test hours itself.
    Visit the Telfort Community.

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