Fitbit, a global leader in wearable fitness technology, has made it easier and more fun for millions of people to live a healthier life. And they've done it by focusing on the experience.
"Customer experience is really paramount to everything we do here," says Allison Leahy, the director of community at Fitbit, adding that in the online space, "Fitbit is trying to be everywhere you are and more".
The company employs a bilateral approach to online customer care, focusing separately on social media and communities, though both groups report up through the same department. While Leahy considers the two channels "different disciplines" with different tools (and hence different agents), one similarity is that Fitbit does a lot of customer listening in both. The team has a system to "incorporate all of our great customer feedback into the products and services we develop," she adds.
Community platforms are used "as a way to organize information around emerging issues and to troubleshoot and gather information from customers who may be experiencing a certain type of issue so that we can get a good assessment and bring that back to our engineering teams," says Leahy. Weekly reporting shares quantitative and qualitative feedback to the product and engineering teams, and the most popular ideas get integrated into future product releases.
One recent such example was "Reminders to Move," a buzzing reminder on the Fitbit device that encourages the user to get up and take some steps. Users in the community forums had self-titled it "Idle Alert," but the core idea was the same.
A blogger for much of her career, Leahy was an early supporter of communities. "It was really through blogging that I started to notice the power of online comments and user engagement and develop an interest in the psychological aspects of online community," she said. "In particular, what happens when you carve out spaces for debate and self-expression and even support spaces for brands and companies online." She helped Fitbit launch its first customer-centric community platform.
"Customer experience is really paramount to everything we do here."
-- Alison Leahy, Director of Community for Fitbit
Here's how Fitbit approaches social media and communities differently, according to Leahy:
Social Media: "In social care our key practice revolves around fully resolving all customer inquiries, doing some of that broad social listening, providing customers with a little bit more delight from the brand, and giving customers a really fast support experience."
Communities: "Community is really where we have more time and attention from users. It's also more of a one-to-many platform and our community forums are really rooted in a peer-to-peer support philosophy. So we're constantly impressed with the wealth of knowledge and expertise our users bring to the table... they're often the best suited to answer each other's questions and motivate each other to get the most of their Fitbit experience."
Fitbit promotes both community and Twitter support on its Contact Us page, alongside telephone, email, and chat support. Leahy says that social media is "definitely a high CSAT [Customer Satisfaction] channel and it's a great channel from a business standpoint because cost per contact is a little lower than some of the other channels". But when questions can't be answered completely in social media, the other service channels come in handy.
Leahy joined me for Episode 44 of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast, sharing Fitbit's best practices for being successful in both social care and online community management.
Here are some of the key highlights of the episode and where to find them:
0:38 Allison talks about her background and Fitbit's social media philosophy
3:45 How social care and community care operate together
6:50 How Fitbit uses customer listening to improve its products and services
12:07 How the Fitbit social media and community service teams are organized
16:09 How digital customer service integrates into traditional customer service
18:13 Allison shares some memorable customer experiences
22:50 What Allison has learned along the way and her advice to others