Company background: TalkTalk is the UK’s leading value for money connectivity provider. We believe that simple, affordable, reliable and fair connectivity should be available to everyone. Since entering the market in the early 2000s, we have a proud history as an innovative challenger brand. Today, we provide landline, broadband, TV and mobile services to over four million customers. We operate Britain’s biggest unbundled broadband network, covering 96% of the population, supplying services to consumers through the TalkTalk brand, to businesses through TalkTalk Business, and by wholesaling to resellers.
Contact: Stephen Fell
Title: Digital Service Manager
Lithy category: B2C Community Innovator
Last year, in the UK, over 11 billion pounds was taken by fraudsters using a range of methods to trick people into handing over their hard-earned cash. This problem is one that plagues lots of different industries and their customers. To make matters worse it’s not always easy to recognise a scam especially when the person calling sounds legitimate and claims to be from your service provider or bank.
“People are more likely to receive a call from a scammer than their friends and family”
James Freedman, Fraud prevention expert
As the provider of our customers phone service, we knew we could do something to help and using the power of our community & the Lithium platform, and so our national Beat the Scammers campaign and more importantly Check & Report was born.
How it all started
We knew that one of the biggest challenges was educating people about scammers, the tactics they use and how to stay safe. We initially built our Beat the Scammers hub a purpose-built area within our community where customers could go to learn about the different types of scams, read blogs and watch videos from security experts about the best ways to stay safe online, protect their information and to avoid scammers.
We teamed up with Fraud prevention expert James Freedman to create content for our new hub along with expert blogs from security experts at f-secure about staying safe online to help bridge the gap in our customers knowledge about scammers. Building on this great foundation we wanted our customers to join us in the fight against the scammers and what better way to help us identify scam callers than using our active community to beat the scammers.
How UGC and Gamification helped beat the scammers
Using our super users and customer focus groups we set about designing a tool, built within the community which enabled customers to check if a scammers number was known to us, report the number for investigation and get feedback once blocked. Several iterations later and pushing the lithium platform to its limits, Check & Report was created.
It’s no exaggeration, in saying that Check & Report uses almost every possible function of the platform in a very different and unique way to deliver a truly innovative and interactive community experience like no other.
Customers are encouraged to search for the numbers they received scam calls from, our database of known numbers is checked and information about the number is displayed giving customers the ability to comment and join the discussion about the scammer. If unknown to us the number can be reported.
Any unknown numbers can be reported very easily, you’ve already entered the phone number, so now just tell us a little about the caller and were done.
All reported numbers are flagged with our internal security team and using a custom algorithm the number of comments or searches a number gets is monitored to help prioritise the urgency of which numbers should be investigated first.
Once reported, our security team investigate and where possible, block the number at a network level preventing the scammer from ever being able to use the number again to contact our customers.
Upon blocking the number, Check & Report is updated and using the notifications and gamification framework, the customer who reported and any who commented about the number is sent a notification and a private message thanking them for their support in beating the scammers. We’ve used gamification to further enforce this with a custom badge which is only achievable by customers who use our check and report service to block numbers.
Due to the success of this service, we’ve rolled this out across our entire global agent population so that if a customer calls us to report a scam the agent can report the number as well as educating the customer about our Check & Report service.
The impact & results
Our new Check & Report service, we believe, is truly the first of its kind. Using a community to crowdsource the identification of scammers, automate the investigation, blocking and most importantly a mechanism where customers can see how their feedback is listened too and how the participation of an individual by reporting a number can benefit every single TalkTalk customer by preventing scam calls from being received.
Since launching we’ve had great feedback about the tool, with many members reporting several numbers all of which has enabled us to block over 800 million scam calls across the entire TalkTalk network from ever getting to our customers.
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