4 steps to formalize your social monitoring and response program


Brands like Comcast, Dell, and Nike have made names for themselves on Twitter as customer service pros. Their responses to customer mentions in the social sphere are known for being useful, timely and fun.

At SAS, we were hoping to develop a similar program for monitoring and responding to our customers on our most popular social channels. We took a cross-divisional approach to making it happen and found that these four steps helped:

  1. Find the right people.
  2. Set clear goals and priorities.
  3. Use the right technologies.
  4. Document results.

 Find the right people

To launch our monitoring and response project, we paired two teams with the most relevant experience:

  • The external communications team had developed a great tone for social media and had existing relationships with brand advocates that they were already following and talking to online.
  • The Marketing Contact Center had extensive experience engaging with customers through traditional channels including Live Chat, phones, email, and web requests.

The two teams partnered to start a social media monitoring & response pilot in January 2012. A cross-divisional Digitize the Business Task Force provided executive sponsorship for the project.

Prior to the pilot, numerous SAS employees were monitoring selected keywords on Twitter and other channels, and responding in an ad hoc manner to concerns or questions that were relevant to them. The new pilot program created a more formal listening team that would route concerns to the appropriate expert inside SAS.

To make that process easier, we established a list of domain experts within SAS who were already active on social channels. We called it the “first responder’s list.” Each time we hear a concern online, we respond or we forward it to a first responder, so they can respond themselves. Or sometimes they provide us with the most relevant information so we can share it with the customer.

Set clear goals and priorities

The pilot team set service level expectations to determine turnaround times, channel priorities, and topics that we would monitor. We communicated those priorities with the project sponsors and with all active users of the existing SAS social channels.

Our first goal was to respond to customer needs in a timely manner. Since the marketing contact center is responsible for uncovering sales opportunities as well as maintaining a positive customer experience, we also had processes in place for impacting revenue and retention as well as representing the SAS brand.

Use listening technologies

We use SAS® Conversation Center to help capture mentions of SAS through Twitter and worked closely with the development team to make product enhancements and to improve the taxonomies used to capture SAS conversations.

Mary Betts, Sr Manager, Marketing for the Marketing Contact Center, describes the team’s efficient use of resources, “The MCC uses the same applications and processes for prioritizing, routing and reporting with social media that we use for 1-800 calls, sas.com contact requests, emails and live chat.  Since the MCC maintains coverage throughout the business day, customers and prospects receive a timely, consistent response to interactions regardless of the channel that they choose.”

We also created a repository where we captured, tracked, and reported mentions of SAS and our interactions with customers and potential customers.

Document results

SAS customers and others talking about SAS quickly shared their appreciation and excitement for our efforts. Here are some of the comments initiated during this initial phase:

In 2013, we were able to report enough value in our social media monitoring and listening efforts to expand the pilot into a formal social media monitoring and response program that includes YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

As the pilot has grown, we continue to report our positive effects on the customer experience and analyze our impact on the revenue stream.

Come back next week to learn three key takeaways from the project. 


About Author

Antionen Scott

Sr Prospect Development Specialist

I have worked at SAS for the last 13 years and I am very excited to be a new contributor to this blog! Currently, I am part of the Marketing Contact Center team engaging with customers through multiple channels including Live Chat, phones, email, web request and social media. My work experience stems from customer service, sales, and marketing working in the banking, telecommunications, and computer industries. I love sharing ideas and collaborating with others that helps drive “out of the box thinking”. I am a mother, wife, cook, poet, and photographer – an amateur at all because I continue to learn every day! One of my previous bosses once told me he thought of me as a “long distance runner” while a colleague described me as “tenacious”. I can agree because my life has taught me to never give up! I feel at home in the south and always take time to notice the little creatures of the world … whether it be a springing frog, chirping cricket, or discreet praying mantis.


  1. Kirsten Hamstra on

    Great post, Antionen. We've come so far since the pilot started last year and I look forward to increasing the program's reach in the coming months and adding to our growing list of SAS social media first responders!

    Kirsten Hamstra
    SAS Global Social Media Manager

  2. Antionen Scott
    Antionen Scott on

    Hi Kirsten! Thank you for your comment and also for your ongoing support. This is really exciting! Antionen

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