Recently at SAS we had an internal update from our US headquarters on the company’s Digitizing the Business program. This is a multi-pronged strategy with a global scope. At this webcast, I was captivated by a presentation updating us on the SAS Social Media Monitoring & Response (SMMR) group. The SMMR pilot was launched to extend our renowned offline customer experience to online, and I’d like to congratulate the team on a job well done. In this post, I want to highlight some of the notable communications that emerged and look at the lessons we learned and where the group is going next.
SAS is no different to any other organisation who wants to put the customer at the centre of our activities; except that we are because we DO. We want you to have the best possible interaction with us, no matter the channel. As a digital marketing specialist, it’s exciting for me to see how the online channel helps us all achieve these goals in serving our customers.
Back to the pilot program … our SMMR team monitored the conversations and sentiment, extending this out to global interactions via the ‘first responders’ list. In order to keep the global responses culturally relevant, the list included nominated people from offices where social interaction is high. In Asia Pacific for instance, this meant our local team in India were on alert to respond to any queries that came through.
Included in the scope was the SAS Corporate social channels including:
- Twitter: @SASsoftware
- Facebook: SAS Software, Jim Goodnight
- LinkedIn groups:
- Advanced Business Analytics, Data Mining and Predictive Modeling (Phase 1 & 2)
- SAS Professional Forum (Phase 1)
- SAS & Analytics Users (Phase 1)
- Big Data/Analytics/Strategy/S&OP/Strategic Planning/Predictive & Business Analytics (Phase 2)
- Microsoft Excel Users (Phase 2)
- SMB Professional Group (Phase 2)
- YouTube: SAS Software channel
- Multiple externally operated discussion forums
Being a bit of a geek, I am also very excited that this pilot is being driven by our own SAS Conversation Center, part of the Social Media Analytics suite. The Conversation Center gives powerful sentiment analysis and prioritises to help the reviewer quickly understand the scale, relevance and tone of a tweet at a glance. We announced new key features late last year, which really improve on the power of this application. The SMMR team works very closely with the Conversation Center development team and the Solutions OnDemand team to continue product enhancements through internal use and recommendations.
Looking at the examples of where the pilot directly impacted on our customers, my favourite was probably the Twitter user whose first tweet used the hashtag #rage to describe his frustration. Within forty minutes of the tweet, the SAS SMMR team had contacted him with several ways to solve his problem. Just a couple of hours later he was back, commending SAS and had flipped his hashtag from the original #rage to #doingitright. Result!
In other cases, the first responders were also able to get it right, and we received feedback like “way to hit the nail on the head SAS,” and “you guys have really impressive social media listening and response capabilities, colour me impressed.”
“We’ve seen tremendous feedback from our social media monitoring and response efforts, not only from customers, but from other SAS departments,” said Crystal Sullivan, SMMR team member and Senior Associate Prospect Development Specialist. “Projects such as the SMMR pilot are a work in progress as we continue to research and collaborate with our SAS colleagues. This pilot would not be the success it is without the assistance we’ve had from our global SAS family.”
As the SMMR pilot approaches its one-year mark, the team has learned an enormous amount from their engagements throughout the entire process. When responding to a customer through social media, be kind and clarifying. It always helps for them to see that SAS is watching and available for assistance. You also want to verify that you are sending relevant information because you never know who is watching and it could go viral faster than you think! The most valuable asset you can have within a team is communication. It’s imperative to foster an open environment where you can bounce ideas off each other, including other departments within SAS thanks to the First Responders. First thing’s first, you have to be willing to take that leap into social media – scared or not!