A warm welcome to Barry Paperno, Consumer Operations Manager at FICO and Community Manager of the myFICO Online Customer Community, as he describes how their community is thriving and delivering benefits to both consumers and myFICO:
myFICO is the consumer division of FICO, the company that created the FICO credit score that lenders use. myFICO offers informative credit products that help people achieve and protect their overall financial health. Through myFICO.com and FICO associates, over 23 million FICO scores have been sold to U.S. consumers since the company launched its consumer service in March of 2001.
While myFICO's products give consumers valuable information about their credit, government regulations restrict myFICO in the types of information it can provide customers. While the company can tell consumers what their FICO credit score is, and what the main factors are affecting the score, the organization cannot give advice for how to improve the score. The FICO scoring elements are so interconnected that even when an explanation of the score is given, it may not be clear how or why the score is as high or low as it is.
As a result of the situation, myFICO had to deal with a high volume of calls focused on questions representatives were not allowed or were unable to provide a simple answer for. In addition to creating a dissatisfying customer experience, this often led to long calls where the representative tried to explain the limitations to the customer.
To better address its customers' needs and to leverage the passion, knowledge, and experience of its customer network , in March 2007 myFICO launched an online customer community powered by Lithium Technologies where consumers can share information and address specific questions or comments posed by other consumers.
myFICO's community has over 300,000 registered members, with 10,000 new users registering every month. And with 20,000 posts and 400,000 searches every month, the community is a thriving meeting ground for those passionate about, worried about, or curious about all things credit. Discussion categories on the community range from bouncing back from credit problems, to FICO scoring and myFICO product feedback, to specific types of credit such as mortgages and student loans.
A critical requirement for myFICO was integrating the community with RightNow Service, the company's contact center solution. myFICO intuitively understood that it needed to connect its traditional CRM system with this new social approach to customer relationship management. As a result of the integration, the community offers customers integrated search results across the community and RightNow knowledge base, and customer service agents using RightNow Service can pull up forum posts, logins, and stats based on the user's phone number and e-mail address, giving them a 360-degree view of a customer's activity.
The myFICO community is a stellar example of the cross-departmental business benefits of deploying social technologies. Though myFICO launched the community to be a complementary support channel for customers, Marketing and Sales have also realized benefits from the company's customer network discussing its products and services in an open forum. Key metrics that illustrate the value the myFICO community has created include:
Lowering support call volume and length: The community contributed significantly to overall customer service inquiries declining over the last year by 1% (vs. 23% growth the year prior). myFICO also directs about 10% of callers to the community for more detailed user-to-user help, helping to decrease myFICO's average support call length.
Attracting new customers: Community URLs have grown to account for 39% of all myFICO.com traffic from search engines, significantly helping FICO achieve its Web marketing goals.
Driving sales: The community helps FICO achieve its sales goals in two ways - the average spend of a customer jumps 66% after they join the myFICO community, and 13% of all myFICO online sales involve viewing a community page.
Enhancing the customer experience: Facilitating user access to helpful educational content and advice helps myFICO deliver a satisfying customer experience, a key component of the company's strategy to attract new customers and enhance the loyalty of existing customers.