It is hoped the forum-based community will help boost Carphone Warehouse up search rankings and help the brand be perceived as the online authority when it comes to mobile.
Rivals Phones4U and O2 also have communities which utilise user generated content to help users with queries about their handsets and also serve as part of their SEO strategies.
Gareth Jones, head of online marketing at Carphone Warehouse, when consumers search for phone help online, lots of fourms that many people would be hesitant about visiting pop up.
“Our view is that if we have user generated assistance on the site addressing those types of issues, Carphone Warehouse will appear at the top of the listings and it will also become like a brand beacon – people will have confidence in visiting,” he adds.
Carphone Warehouse also utilises paid ads to assert positive brand associations when customers are having issues.
Jones explains that a search for “Carphone Warehouse complaints” is likely to bring up a paid ad that reads “We’re sorry if you’re not happy – here’s how to contact us!”.
He adds: “What we have now is a slick customer service process that enables people to contact us through multiple access points and we can respond very quickly. The consumer gets dealt with quicker and in some instances it is actually more efficient for us to do this than have people calling in.”
Carphone Warehouse reported a 4.7% dip in revenue in its third quarter, blaming its poor results on a lack of available smartphones in the low-end pay as you go market and a reduction in subsidies from networks.
Last year Carphone Warehouse sold its interest in US company Best Buy and closed its 11 UK large format stores. Carphone is now focused on expanding its Wireless World innovation-focused stores across Europe and is understood to be incorporating some Best Buy staff back into the Carphone Warehouse business.
Read the full feature on using search marketing to optimise reputation management in Marketing Week’s Digital Strategy supplement on 17 May.