Good customer experience feels good all around


One of my new favorite activities is perusing the memorable transcripts from our Live Chat program.

Lida: Hi! Welcome to Live Chat! I'm here to help.
Lida: May I please have your name and company?
Visitor: My name is Bill Smith and I'm with ABC.
Visitor: how many offices do you have within the United States?
Visitor: I was just wondering.
Lida: Visit About SAS. There are several facts about SAS in this document, Bill.
Visitor: gee thanks Lida
Visitor: you sure are the best, do you want to get married?
Visitor: i know this seems rash and out of the blue
Visitor: but I really feel like we clicked here
Lida: Not really. Once is enough.

Our Live Chat program is an example of how SAS is improving customer experience. We know that customer experience is measured along three axes:

  • Success: was the customer's need met?
  • Effort: how easy was it for the customer to accomplish the task?
  • Emotion: how does the customer feel about the experience?

All three are critical, but it's the last one -- emotion -- that really sticks with you. Looking at Lida's chat above, I'd say the customer got what he needed with a small effort (chat is easy!), and what's more emotional than a marriage proposal? (Though I hope Bill wasn't heartbroken by the response.)

Live Chat -- an interaction that typically lasts only minutes -- can't solve every problem. While chat operators can resolve many issues (even technical questions!), some challenges require deeper engagement. Thankfully, SAS Technical Support has earned its tremendous reputation for customer service. They resolve almost every problem (Success win!) and customers usually like the interaction and feel good about the result (Emotion win!). But here's the untold secret about Technical Support: working through a track requires work -- obviously for SAS staff, but also for the customer. Explaining your problem, working through a back-and-forth conversation to narrow the issues that finally lead to resolution -- that requires Effort.

Self-serve is satisfying.

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For some types of problems, this effort is exactly what's required. Customers do not mind putting effort into solving difficult problems. But for many challenges -- for those "How do I" type of questions -- a self-serve approach is more satisfying. That's why the SAS Support Communities site is so popular.

We've recently relaunched with a new look and lots of new features -- features designed to make the site more fun (like badges and new ranks) while also making it easier to find your answers. This helps you to achieve Success (find the correct answer) with less Effort, and we hope leaves you with a positive Emotion when you accomplish your task.

You can make a difference, and feel good about it.

Here's an interesting question: can a customer feel good about a customer experience that doesn't actually solve his or her problem? This is where the SASWare Ballot comes in. The SASWare Ballot is our way of listening to customers and acting on their suggestions. If your problem isn't easily solved today and requires a change in SAS software, the ballot allows you to make a difference for yourself and for your fellow SAS users. Just knowing that you're being heard, even if your challenge remains for today, can still be satisfying. Especially if you've been a customer for a while and have watched SAS software improve based on customer suggestions.

For example, no one was more pleased than I was when SAS Enterprise Guide added this new feature for copying process flows. (After all, I'm a SAS user too!) It was captured as a Ballot idea back in 2014, received many votes, and was delivered in the latest release. This is just one of hundreds of ideas that began with a few customers and resulted in improvements that benefit all customers.

Today happens to be National Customer Experience Day, but that isn't so different from other days at SAS, where our customers are a constant focus. Here's to your greater success, with less effort, and more good feelings all around!


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies


  1. I find the SAS customer and partner eco system are an extension of the SAS employee culture. The connections made, questions answered and feedback responses given online or in person at various SAS user groups or forums are focused with the customer or partner in mind which make it a feel-good family-like experience. It's one I enjoy being part of as a SAS user, customer and partner every day! Thanks SAS.

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