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Forrester Groundswell Awards 2011 Submission - Cisco Mobile Technical Support

Opportunity

As Cisco brings new products to market, expands into emerging economies and adds new customers, we see an ever increasing demand from our customers, many of whom are network technology professionals, to access the right technical support, in real time, globally. Recognizing it is impossible to be present for every customer in every country for every support issue, Cisco has put Web-based and automated services at the core of its support strategy. Since 2000, Cisco Support Community (CSC) has offered community-based, peer-to-peer support for our enterprise, medium-sized and small business customers across all of our product areas. CSC has grown exponentially, quadrupling in size over the last eighteen months, and become one of our most strategic channels for Web-based support.

Our technical support customers are often "on the road" in their everyday work, helping clients and troubleshooting on site. More than ever, our customers are taking advantage of today's advanced mobile technologies and smartphone platforms to stay connected with mission-critical technical resources that are needed to resolve support issues. The proliferation of persistent mobile broadband connection, rich user interface and highly efficient application development tools has opened up new opportunities for Cisco to offer anytime/anywhere technical support to smartphone users worldwide.

Solution

To address this opportunity, Cisco launched its first mobile technical support app on iPhone in January 2011, focusing initially on our community-based support capabilities. The release was followed by the launch of a similar support app on iPad in July 2011.

The two free apps on iTunes from Cisco deliver full features and functionality of our online support communities to all iPhone/iPad users globally - and are unique among offerings from industry peers. The apps enable network support professionals to:

  • View answers and relevant information from real-time technical support forum discussions, videos, blog posts and RSS feeds from iPhone & iPad anytime, anywhere.
  • Post troubleshooting questions to forum discussions on the fly - whether at one's desk, working in a datacenter, waiting at an airport or anywhere support needs to be completed.
  • Share the latest technical support insights from our communities with friends and colleagues anytime, anywhere.
  • Interact with support professionals and Cisco customers with the right expertise in the right technology domains via messaging, community profiles and member leaderboards (lists of top community contributors).

Since the iPhone app launch in January, we have seen exponential adoption, with the number of iTunes downloads exceeding 24,000 over seven months. With a more versatile and intuitive user experience, the iPad app has taken our adoption to the next level, quickly adding over 1,000 downloads within the first week of the July launch.

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Customer Impact

Since the introduction of our mobile technical support apps, we have seen clear evidence of improved customer satisfaction and engagement.

Our apps have received a user rating of 4.5/5 on iTunes, accompanied by positive user reviews. We have also received a large number of user testimonials in our own communities, such as the one below:

"Just downloaded the app. It's already helping me in an outage tonight. It beats running across the data-center to where my laptop has to charge! The app looks really polished and seems to have some great functionality. Great work!"

- Brett Lykins, Network Administrator, Rockingham Memorial Hospital

Our apps have also contributed significantly to the engagement of and participation by our community members. Our customers, when they are on mobile devices, are much more engaged, contributing to our forum discussions and sharing knowledge at a much higher rate than they normally would. One statistic shows our mobile users contributing at the rate of 6% of their number of visits to our communities (contributions divided by visits), compared with 2% typically seen on the (non-mobile) Web. With the launch of our iPad app, the mobile contribution rate has jumped by 240%, and the mobile pageviews have increased fourfold. All of this is evidence of our mobile apps addressing our customers' most critical issues exactly when support is needed.

Business Impact

Our mobile support strategy has already brought significant business benefits to Cisco. One of the key metrics we track as a support organization is cost savings resulting from steering support cases to our Web-based channels. We estimate, at our current volume, our mobile apps are bringing cost savings of over $1M on an annualized basis to Cisco. As the adoption of our mobile support accelerates, we expect this cost benefit to grow significantly over time.

Summary

Cisco has successfully positioned itself as one of the leaders in mobile technical support. As user needs continue to shift - and mobile device capabilities evolve, we plan to lead this industry change with innovations and value to our customers. Mobility will continue to play a central role in Cisco's overall support and services strategy going forward.

We see significant opportunities to enhance our mobile community features in the coming months - and to integrate the capabilities of our automated support tools. Our goal is to eventually create a truly end-to-end mobile support experience.

Our mobile support strategy has evolved in response to the disruptive change in how our customers are starting to accomplish their mission-critical work every day. The strategy has also taken advantage of the recent innovations that have emerged in the mobile industry. We have capitalized on these two fundamental market shifts and have realized significant benefits for our customers and for Cisco.

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‎07-28-2011 11:46 AM
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