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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Cisco Support Community

Entered in Customer Service

About this entry

In today's interconnected world, enterprise technology customers expect immediate resolution when they have a technical challenge. Cisco recently upgraded and redesigned its online customer support platform on Drupal to more effectively and directly address customer expectations.

Originally, Cisco customer inquiries were primarily handled through the Cisco Technical Assistance Center. Support call centers remain a high-cost, high-touch support model, best utilized for only a subset of inquiries. In order to provide a more effective model for an exponentially growing base of customers, Cisco introduced the online Cisco Support Community, which provides 24X7X365, crowd-sourced, self-service access to relevant content and expertise to resolve customer inquiries. The Community's objective is to connect, engage, and collaborate with Cisco customers & partners via posting and sharing of relevant and timely information to IT professionals, specifically to address technical support inquiries, which positively impacts a key goal of "case deflection" (resolving a customer query without a call to Cisco's Technical Assistance Center). The Community helps resolve and therefore deflect millions of support cases annually which previously required call center support, helping Cisco support and satisfy more customers, while more cost-effectively addressing technical support needs and expanding the Cisco ecosystem.

The Community platform is now the primary online destination for Cisco-related technical questions, expertise, and timely support. Social media channels for the Community are also leveraged to for engagement and collaboration by amplifying key content, quickly responding to and solving inquiries, and increasing knowledge through the sharing of content, webcasts, events, and Q&A sessions.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The Cisco Support Community is Cisco's largest online customer community, with over 750,00 registered users (reflecting only 8% of its active userbase) and 56 million annual pageviews. On the community, viewers may find answers and attend events, and registered members can post questions, contribute knowledge, and collaborate through discussion forums and social media channels. The strategic objective of Cisco's social media efforts in particular is to accelerate awareness of, and engagement with, community content, while creating a seamless support experience for customers.

As a public peer-to-peer support forum, technical experts (customers, partners, and employees) share knowledge and expertise freely, thus serving the wider community, while being recognized by numerous reward programs. Community Managers monitor posts real-time, utilizing both social listening tools and monitoring the 500+ subcommunities as well as each social channel hourly to ensure a timely response. In addition to an average 20K posts per month on the community, Cisco additionally addresses hundreds of queries monthly across social channels where most are 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 that platform. On Twitter, Cisco receives more than 50 mentions daily of the Community handle, and every tweet is monitored to check if it needs resolution or response. Mentions on the rest of the social channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, are also continuously monitored in order to provide immediate assistance when needed. Across all of the social channels, there are six social media campaigns running at any time, which serve to further engage and educate customers and followers.

Community content across the channels includes technical documents, whitepapers, presentations, answered questions, blog posts, videos, and recorded and live webcasts, each of which addresses a specific technical topic. Cisco's social team curates this content, and amplifies the most compelling and relevant topics across the social channels to drive further awareness and engagement. This content sharing has proven highly effective, and has been very well received by followers. The Support Community Facebook page received 14,000 likes, 1,258 shares, and 6,540 clicks to content in December 2015 alone.

To accelerate awareness and engagement on the Community, Cisco creatively leverages select social channels for amplification to best serve the increasingly "social" customer base. While all of the channels are populated with high-value content, Twitter remains the quickest resource for attention and assistance, while platforms such as Facebook allow for longer and more in-depth explanations to inquiries. Cisco has also implemented key social channel listening and engagement programs, which ensure that any customer query, regardless of the channel, will be addressed with a Cisco expert response.


Since its implementation, the Cisco Support Community has experienced impressive double-digit, year-over-year growth across every channel used. Leveraging a targeted social media strategy in 2015 resulted in an average follower growth of 30 percent across all of Cisco's online channels. During the past year alone:

In 2015, the Support Community, which includes Cisco's social channels as well as the online Support Forum built with open-source Drupal, drove cost savings of more than $433 million via peer-to-peer supported case deflection of over 3 million cases. The platform enhancements have resulted in increased operational efficiency, a larger ecosystem, better support, and higher customer satisfaction.

The entire Support Community has experienced impressive growth during the past year, with a cumulative total of over 1.3M Cisco Support Community social channel & community members, 56 million annual community page views, and 225,000+ pieces of new content. With a 147 percent increase in engagement and a 559 percent increase in reach driven by social amplification, Cisco has achieved significant success in accelerating corporate goals, with Acquia's support on the Drupal platform.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cisco & Acquia


Entry Credits