Posts Tagged: ‘socialportal’

Online Communities and Self-service | Social Media Today

11. September 2012 Posted by Stefan Pfeiffer


ROI is important, so lets look at ROI first of all.  With a customer support community it’s a pretty straightforward deal.  Ok, let me rephrase that, it ‘should’ be a straightforward deal, because I’m assuming you know how much each problem resolution costs via your standard support channels.  You do?  Great, then lets move on.  Once you have that simple bit of information, all you have to do is measure each successful problem resolution via your online community (that was solved by other members rather than yourself), and divide that by the cost of your community to get the cost per resolution.  Compare that with your traditional method and Bob’s your Uncle.

... Cisco have had an online support community for years now, where millions of customers gather online to talk about Cisco products.

Cisco estimates that the online support community diverts around 1 million support requests away from official channels each year.  The value of having problems solved by the community is estimated at over $120 million each year!  Did you get that?  $120 million each year.  I reckon that kind of saving would be enough to prove to senior management that social media is worthwhile don’t you?

Great summary and the Cisco-numbers are blowing everybody away. I am always using an internal IBM example of a Self Service community. All the Mac and iOS users in IBM are organized in a Mac Community helping each other. No official support by IT, but a community with experts and not vwery technical users like me solving all questions themselve. (And of course IT provides the necessar entry points, like the VPN gateway for Mac, Traveler access for iOS etc.). Meeting the experts and help each other is a great success factor for communities.

This is why a Corporate Website should host communities, And this is why a Social Portal is so important as part of your Customer Experience. Any successful Customer Self Service Communities you know about and best pratcises to share?

Reorganize For Social: Open up your Web site – Socialize your Web

26. August 2012 Posted by Stefan Pfeiffer

Another great visualization (and posting) from Dion Hinchcliffe. The era of Social Business requires change in the interaction with customers. It requires for sure organizational change in the enterprise, but it requires your corporate website to change to. To effecively communicate, host customer communities and have a social supply chain your web site needs to transform from the fancy shop window of your company to a social enabled web site, a Social Portal linking the outside world directly into your enterprise.

Where are your Customer Communities hosted? Sometime they are (already) external Social Media like Facebook or Twitter. But there are often good reasons to host them on your own web site. You are owning the community (and its data). You can add some level of security if needed. You are making your own web site more attractive. People stay on your site instead of easily get disctracted and leave surfing somewhere else. Obviously it needs to be easy for your customers to join. Don't ask them for long registration processes. Offer login through OpenID.

Make the communities on your web site live and attractive through providing premier services and access to your experts. Leverage your community to get your customers input for the next product releases. We are just doing that for the next-next realease of IBM Connection. Unveal the power of Customer Self Service Communities. In the era of Social Business people are more than ever willing to help each other. I am always using the example of our Mac-community within IBM. IBMers are helping each other to run their Mac as Business workstation within IBM. We don't have an official help desk, but are supporting each other very successful. There are hundreds of examples on the Web, where people are actively helping each other with advice. Leverage this new willingness and behaviour of the Social Age for your customers and your enterprise.

Put the Customer in the centre and provide and Exceptional Customer Experience. For sure it is primarily not a technical but a cultural challenge. It needs change. But it is worth it.



On the Power of Communities to connect Employees, Customers, and Partners

23. August 2012 Posted by Stefan Pfeiffer

Building out an enterprise social network (ESN) goes beyond just connecting employees to each other. Talking about a company’s ESN one might picture a single network, but in reality many companies will operate with several / many interconnected communities and networks. That’s one of the reasons that community platforms, ESN platforms and private social networks need to be built on open standards. Disconnected communities and networks perpetuate silos. Integration is really critical.

Customer communities are used by companies for many different activities, support and service, marketing, and sales. As customers interact in the community a great deal of valuable content is developed. The value of that content is greatly increased by providing a method for sharing. Beyond the content the interactions in the community provides useful insight into the members behavior. Using analytics to examine the data, a great deal can be added to a prospect’s / customer’s profile. The information can be used to provide a much richer customer experience. The problem though, is getting that information into the right hands inside a company. Most communities are disconnected from the internal systems and thus, create data silos.

A great description, why Communities make sense in communicating with customers and Business Partners. This is why the idea of a Social Portal hosting not only the company web site but social functions including communities is so powerful. Talking about my own work I am extensively using Communities to get my job done:

  • The EULUC-platform to communicate with the German users and User Group DNUG - and now you guys out there.
  • User Communities are today an extremely important instrument to have a two-way-communication and discussion with your customers. In my previous role as Marketing Lead for IBM Collaboration Solutions in Germany I was (and I still am) leveraging the EULUC-community. This is the platform of the German IBM Collaboration Solutions User Group running on the newest release of IBM Connections. It is being hosted by Softwerk and, two German Business Partners. The discussions on EULUC and the two blogs, which Stefan Krueger and myself have been cultivating, became an indispensable part of our communication an Marketing mix. Our German customers know in between that they will always find the newest information in this community. And of course the blogs offer the opportunity to post different kind of information's from press and blog clippings up to personal comments (which are made visible as personal statements). The click rates are impressive: the IBM Collaboration Solutions Germany reached 3.650.707 clicks as of today (May 28, 2012). Of course EULUC is not a one-way-communication vehicle for marketers. It is much more. It is a real community, where we as a vendor get and want feedback and where lively and of course sometimes controversial discussions. And I know that even our competitors are very active readers of the Community … It is a place, where you can meet the experts, not only the IBM experts but the experts from our customers and partners. Not a surprise that the Meet the Expert-blog and community is highly used.

  • IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to work with my suppliers.
  • One of the most appealing use cases for me is working with my supply chain and my partners. As a marketer I am obviously organizing campaigns and events. External suppliers are always involved in these projects, e.g. our PR Agency Text100, our event agency, my partner in crime CPP, Freelancers, Speakers etc. What are you doing in these projects? You define Milestones, you are assigning and hopefully tracking tasks, you are sharing and collaborating on files, you write meeting minutes and much more. Of course you need to share and track all this information. So typically files and info's are send by Email, tasks are managed in extensive spreadsheets, which are again being distributed by Email. And we all experience the disadvantages of Email for sharing and tracking projects, information and files.  A few years ago I changed the way how I manage projects and in particular events away from the Email centric approach to I would call the the „Social Business“ way. I am using with my suppliers IBM's Smart Cloud for Social Business. I am setting up a project community and activity in the cloud, invite the internal IBMers to the project, include my external suppliers and manage the whole project collaboratively in this community.

  • Communities on to collaborate and innovate on different topics.

  • The German IBM Web team around Petra Baeuerle did set up the IBM BlueBlog, a group blog, where IBM'ers like myself are posting their views in German language. The Community, Blog and other functions of IBM Connections are available on to be leveraged by IBM'ers, customers and partners for their special interests and topics. I used to run some communities on, e.g. around our two IBM Social JamCamps, which took place 2011 and 2010. This power of Social is unbelievable important to energize your web site and it is the reason, why we have most recently extended functionality and integration of the IBM Exceptional Web Experience Suite to provide an even deeper and smoother integration between the traditional Portal and WCM with the social functions of IBM Connections.

These are only a few examples out of my life, where I leverage communities. There are many more beyond Marketing in Product Development, HR, Sales and many more functions. I strongly believe that we will see more and more Communities leveraged. They will be a Communication and Dailogue Hub between the Enterprise and its external eco system, crucial for running the business successfully. I am looking forward to the next release of Connections which will even extend the capaibilities of linking internal and external communities together, And to finish this posting, I would like to reference again to this great graphic from Dion Hinchcliffe visualizing the importance of communities for the Next Generation Enterprise: