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Special Project

Special Project NEW!
From the 3rd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Enhancing the Social Care Experience in the Caregiving Community

Finalist in Facebook

Entered in Storytelling

About this entry

The AARP Social Response Team forges the ongoing social care strategies, processes, and official responses to AARP consumers as they interact with our social media content across channels. This program is a key feedback component to the AARP Experience strategy. Our strategic pillars guide our goals: to Monitor, Consult, Engage.

We want to act as the real-time beacon for AARP's "outside-in" brand identity and reputation. Therefore, it's important that we develop and focus on an intimate and empathetic relationship with our members through conversation, to build trust and positive sentiment towards the organization and our brand.

One of our goals for the year was to focus on thoughtfulness in language to improve the customer experience via social. Empathetic language is key to many of our conversations, particularly when we converse around sensitive topics like caregiving.

AARP supports the millions of caregivers who provide unpaid care for their loved ones. This is why it's important that we create an engaged audience who identifies the organization in this space, since for a while, most users were not aware of AARP as a caregiving resource. Specifically, they were not looking to social media to provide them with relevant (tip based) content and were more likely to engage with posts that connects with them emotionally, acknowledges their struggles and provides them with an outlet to share their burden with friends and family.

Therefore, we realized that before we can ask users to take action, we needed to establish AARP as a trusted resource in caregiving.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Even though Social Response was providing a great experience for caregiving via social, the team started to notice missed opportunities that we were not taking advantage of. We took a look at caregiving volume for the month of February 2018 on Facebook, and noticed that out of the 6,000 caregiving conversations, we only sent less than 200 responses with standard templated language. Since we receive a significant amount of engagement on our caregiving posts, we knew there was potential to create a better experience for our caregivers.

The solution to this problem was to enhance our interactions by crafting our responses to be more empathetic and validating in nature, and therefore, non-template based. Our goal was to treat these new interactions as casual conversations among friends so members feel reassured that they're talking to a real person as opposed to a bot, thus reinforcing AARP as a trusted resource. This is key if we want to be one of the most intimate American brands.

As a result, the team worked hard to implement a more empathic, intimate, and personal approach on responding to our caregiving comments, as opposed to simple transactional exchanges. We developed a refresher training course with our agents where members of the team walked through examples that encouraged better responses that deviated from standard message templates. The aim of these responses is to acknowledge the member's story first, with providing resources as a secondary goal.

It was important that we worked extensively with our in-house caregiving team to ensure our agents created intimate, human, and validating language to those facing challenges that can take an emotional toll caring for their aging family members. This work aligns to our experience pillars by expressing our values of empathy, honesty, and humanity as well as inspiring trust. Some of the new tactics included:


New Response Protocol Helped Drive Positive Sentiment Increase

In the past few months, we raised our overall positive sentiment distribution by 6% through these specific caregiving engagements.

Positive reaction from Community

Members seemed pleasantly surprised that AARP engaged so deeply and conversed so humanly as opposed to transactional.

Commentary on Caregiving Brand Content Increased 177% Over February

Once the protocol was implemented in March, we started to notice a difference right away.

Increase in Responses

The social response team was able to increase its overall response engagement for caregiving responses by 13% in July. This jump really helped us cement AARP's place as a voice in the caregiving space.


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