Tips for managing an online customer community from giffgaff

Secrets of a thriving online community by giffgaff, the ‘people powered company’.

  • 50 ideas a week
  • 50% of customer queries answered by the community
  • Queries answered on average in 3 minutes – 24/7
  • Apps are developed by the community
  • Super-users spending up to 6 hours a DAY online

These are some of the stats for the online customer community run by mobile network firm giffgaff . And listening to Heather Taylor, social media manager of giffgaff at another great Digital Surrey event, you had to be impressed. Anyone who is managing a community knows that maintaining levels of vibrancy and engagement can be hard work.

So how do they do it?


Over 45% of new joiners are referrals from other members. Wow! They do this by paying £5 to anyone that recruits a new member – the thinking being that ‘you took time out of your day to do this, so this is our way to say thank you’.

You scratch my back…..

Members who consistently help out other members by answering questions and queries are rewarded. But not just with cash. They were also given the choice of recieving free minutes on their contract or the opportunity to donate money to a charity (selected by the community).

Recognition is key

The ethos of giffgaff is that the community is part of the company. So it is only natural that community members get recognised for their efforts. For example they got an invitation to the Christmas party. Yes – and for those who couldn’t make it in person there was a webcam so people could join the virtual party!

Mutual giving and ownership.

The ethos of the community also means that everyone benefits. So in the last six months community members got an average of £16 back each – with some members getting £900 in recognition of their hard work. While money helps – fundamentally, Heather told us, the community has a strong sense of ownership over giffgaff. That is what drives the loyalty and the continual engagement.

Heather finished her presentation with a word of warning. The giffgaff community was started from scratch – built from the ground up to be a company ‘powered by people’ . Acheiving the same results for an existing business with an online legacy, may not be so easy.

Find out more about the latest thinking on community management at the Community Cove – follow #comcove.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *