There has been a great deal of buzz around the tech sector over the last 5 years around Web 2.0, using it to connect to your partners and customers, and ultimately how some companies have revolutionized business models through next-generation communities.We’d like to give you some insight on how we created the Small Business Support Community, or more importantly why we created it, and why we hope you’ll spend some time checking it out.
In November of 2008 Cisco made a $100 Million commitment to the small business market. In December 2009 we announced that we had expanded our small business product offering to include over 600 networking, security and communications products specifically designed for this market.
As we discussed how to best support our customer and partner base for small business, it became clear that there are millions of potential customers and thousands of partners in the marketplace. Even for the largest global sales force and support team supporting millions would present a unique challenge. So how could we support such a large and diverse group? Community! Crowdsourcing! We realized that even though we have a great team of small Business experts here at Cisco, all of you that have been living in the world of Small Business a lot longer than we have would be the key to helping us understand what you need.
We launched the Community in January of 2009, and we have truly been impressed and grateful for the level of expertise that has been shown by our partners and customers on the Community. We now have almost 70,000 unique users from all over the world, contributing knowledge around small Business technology in 8 languages.
There are also Cisco engineers staffing the Community who are answering questions and concerns, and seeing your support questions first hand decreased the time of response. This also leads to the team being able to immediately begin addressing bugs or flaws, whereas the time cycles used to take longer as the issues would take time to read out from phone/online case volumes or getting feedback through traditional channels. Utilizing the Community puts any issues out front and center for the Cisco Small Business team to immediately see, and rest assured that nothing is off the table. Of course there are the general rules of conduct as with any Community around profanity and such, but any product-related issue is fair game on the Community and our team will be working with you to resolve it.
If this is your first time hearing about the Community, please check it out! If you’ve been there before and have feedback for us on how it can be better or different to suit your needs, please feel free to comment here or on the Community. There is one source for making the Community not just the Cisco Community but the Global Small Business Support Community, and that is your valuable feedback. We look forward to seeing you there and continuing to improve your experience with Cisco Small Business.