The Best Buy Twelpforce program has taken the brand from a major force in local retail to an industry leader on social media.
Everyone knows about Best Buy, and everyone knows about their expertise. But a few years ago, Best Buy was faced with a challenge: How does a giant in electronics retail go beyond the walls of a store and engage with an audience, provide ongoing, real-time support, garner brand advocates and build their own brand on multiple channels in the most efficient, measurable way possible? The solution: @Twelpforce. Twelpforce is Best Buy’s Twitter handle for their online community. Essentially, the Best Buy team provides support and answers to thousands of engaged users who want access to the Best Buy experts.
In this week’s social media case study, we look at what Twelpforce has accomplished, and what genius lay behind the concept that led to it being such a huge success.
How is Twelpforce designed? Essentially, it is a handle to which all Best Buy employees have access. Questions about anything and everything electronics-related can be sent, and the Best Buy team answers them as quickly as possible.
With thousands of employees actively engaging with the Twelpforce platform, there is no shortage of experts that can answer a customer’s question without ever trying to close a deal.
Thus, people can be comfortable knowing that they are getting a genuine, qualified response from someone who truly knows what they are talking about without being worried that they have fallen into a sales trap.
When it comes to Twelpforce, there is a lot for Best Buy to proud of. Tens of thousands of questions have been answered since the program was founded and it has been a continually growing success. Below are a few features of note from the Twelpforce program.
Focus on Conversation
If this social media case study proves anything, it is that conversation is always better than monologue. In the first year of the Twelpforce program, Best Buy noted a 20% drop in customer complaints online. By engaging in active conversations with their clientele and providing simple, straightforward answers, Best Buy managed to boost customer morale and shrink complaints.
People like to talk to someone, with thousands of people ready to answer, conversation was inevitable.
Use Your Whole Team
People might hesitate to look at every employee and ask them to participate in a public, unfiltered conversation. Understandably so; particularly when you have a company as large as Best Buy. But the benefits to this tactic far outweighed the risks.
Limiting your engagement to a small team detracts from the purpose of a program like this. The goals, as noted above, are to start a conversation, and when you are simply providing support, there is nothing exceptionally unique. By involving the expertise of their whole team Best Buy accomplished two things: first, they ensured that questions would be answered promptly. Second, they ensured that no question would go unanswered, as they had a veritable “expert” in every field imaginable!
A 20% drop in complaints proves this was the right move.
If You’re There to Help, Help!
One of the most crucial aspects that led to the success of Best Buy was that they did not use their social community as a direct sales tool. Of course, if someone is asking about Best Buy-related products, then they can be driven to a landing page that helps them out further. But as far as sales go, that is not why people engage in a conversation with Twelpforce, nor would that angle have led to the same amount of success. Twelpforce was designed to Tweet help (Twelp). By steering clear of the sales angle, Gina Debogovich, Community Manager at Best Buy noted the following: “Factoring in call deflection and sales influence, our online community engagements provide around a $5MM benefit to the organization.” What strategy do you employ when it comes to engaging with your online community?
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