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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Optimized Service from Cisco Support Community

Entered in Customer Service


The Cisco Support Community ( is Cisco's largest online customer community, with over 750K registered users & 30M+ annual visits. Our award-winning Community consists of IT technical support professionals who work with Cisco solutions. Members post questions, find answers, attend events, contribute knowledge, and collaborate via discussion forums, mobile solutions and social media channels. The Support Community is a key pillar of Cisco Services' software-enabled services strategy.

As a public peer-to-peer support forum, technical experts share knowledge and expertise freely, thus serving the wider community, while being recognized by numerous reward and gamification programs. The Community's objective is to enable posting and sharing of relevant and timely information to IT professionals, specifically to answer technical inquiries, which positively impacts a key goal of "case deflection". Case deflection is defined as handling a customer query such that the inquiry is resolved without having to call Cisco's Technical Assistance Center. In 2014, the Community drove cost savings of over $380M for Cisco.

The Community's social media channels amplify these key tenets of service, engagement and collaboration, by answering inquiries regarding technical support and certifications, and increasing knowledge via sharing of content, tech talks, webcasts, events, and Q&A sessions. The strategic objective of our social media efforts is to accelerate awareness of and engagement with community content, while contributing to the larger goal of case deflection. Leveraging this strategy in 2014 resulted in an increase of social followers to over 671K, with a cumulative year over year growth of 14% across all channels.

Strategy and Execution

For the Customer Service Category, Cisco has a most compelling entry for the Cisco Support Community's effective use of Social Business Software and innovative leverage of supporting Social Media Channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube). We will outline the Community's objectives & key features, share very impressive 2014 metrics achieved, highlight creative use of Social Channels, and summarize the business impact. From this information, we are confident that the Shorty Judges will also see the value of these social efforts.

Community Objectives & Features

As the world's leading IT company, Cisco has many technology products and solutions, some of which require considerable knowledge and expertise to learn and implement. Technical questions frequently arise while working with this industry-leading technology. The most cost- and time- effective model for customers and Cisco is to allow immediate online access to relevant content and expertise (as an alternative to calling Cisco's Technical Assistance Center). The Cisco Support Community addresses this need through the innovative use of Social Business Software as the primary online destination for Cisco-related technical questions, expertise, and timely support.

Powerful features available within the Community include

To accelerate awareness and engagement on the Community, we creatively leverage selected social channels for amplification to best serve our increasingly "social" customer base. We have also implemented key social channel content listening and engagement programs. This ensures a Cisco expert response to any customer query, regardless of channel.

Compelling Metrics

The Cisco Support Community experienced impressive double digit year-over-year growth across every channel used. These follower/member numbers compare extraordinarily well in contrast with other enterprise company social numbers, let alone the growth rates, as shown below:

Channel Members
















Google Plus








Support Community Members




Creative Use of Social Channels

Effective Listening. Our Community Managers monitor all posts real-time, utilizing both social listening tools and "manually" monitoring each social channel hourly to ensure a timely response to ~50 queries per week. These queries are mostly technical questions or comments, which are addressed by an answering post to the original question, frequently with a link to additional detail on the Community, thus driving further awareness and engagement. On Twitter, we get ~50 mentions daily of our handle, and every tweet is monitored to check if it needs resolution.

Examples of our technical query resolution on Facebook and Twitter (image 1 & 2).

Impactful Engagement. Our Community and Social teams play a pivotal role in massive content management, curation, and distribution. With ~1.6M content pieces already on the community, and an average 170K more generated annually, this requires finesse. Community content includes technical documents and whitepapers, answered questions, blog posts, videos, technical talks, recorded and live webcasts, and many more, each of which addresses a specific technical topic. Our social team curates this content, and amplifies the most compelling and relevant content across social channels to drive further awareness and engagement. This content sharing has proven highly effective, and has been received with considerable approbation by our audience (ex: Community technical content on Facebook drove >6400 likes, 1100 shares and 3800 clicks in December 2014 alone. The take-away: members *really* love our content). Note that the Support Community Facebook page received 14000 Likes, 1258 Shares, and 6540 Clicks in December 2014.

Examples of content we share across our social channels:


With a Cisco Support Community membership of 750,000, over 30M community visits annually, 170K new content pieces annually, double-digit membership growth across each channel, a cumulative total of over 671,000 followers across our social channels, and a reach of 152M+ in 2014 driven by social amplification, all collectively driving a corporate savings of $380M annually due to more efficient customer service, we have achieved significant success in accelerating Cisco corporate goals.


Video for Optimized Service from Cisco Support Community

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cisco Support Community


Entry Credits