It’s cyber Monday. Youblog pic dec’re online cart’s full, ready to check out. And then…screen freeze. Refresh, refresh. Nothing. Close the page, open it again – buffering. Is it the site? Internet provider? A quick sweep of Twitter shows outage complaints  popping up. As your annoyance level grows, you tweet, too, but is anyone listening?

This scenario illustrates the power of social media. With one tweet, a topic, product or issue can go from unknown to thousands of followers in a matter of minutes. From a customer service perspective, monitoring these social media spikes is critical because they could be an early warning sign for a big problem.

It’s especially true during the holidays, when web traffic is heavy and many retailers and other businesses rely on their websites running smoothly. Outages could have a devastating impact so teams keep a close watch on systems, networks, and social media chatter.

For Cisco, active listening across various social media channels is instrumental to proactive customer support. Social media monitoring helps us track and respond to sentiment about our products, services, and customer experiences.

And, since Cisco’s Contact Center is already monitoring social media 24/7, several years ago we expanded our scope to also watch for areas of concern on behalf of our customers. The team looks for crowdsourcing related to outages, service disruptions or other events that could impact business operations of our customers and partners.

Alerts are raised based on trending topics in tweets or posts from customers, vendors, mainstream news channels, or end user complaints. The team assesses to determine if the issue is current and valid, and widespread enough to cause significant effects.

For a Cisco-related issue, we assemble the right resources for proactive resolution. For non-Cisco issues, we’ll notify the impacted customer so they can engage and manage the issue. But, our end goal is to support our customers and ensure their success, so we’ll proactively offer assistance whether it’s a Cisco issue or not.

Additionally, we watch for activity related to wide-spread disasters as an early alert for Cisco’s emergency response team. Any action suggesting a security or data breach also warrants notification to our Customer Data Protection and Information Security teams to ensure Cisco is actively engaged to help stop the breach and secure customer data.

At Cisco, we’re committed to finding new ways to deliver an exceptional customer experience and deepen our relationship with customers and partners. Our proactive social media monitoring approach has helped our customers in many cases by making them aware of a potential problem that their own monitoring had missed, or that hadn’t yet reached critical mass.

How has social media monitoring helped your business? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


Curt Hill

Senior Vice President

Customer Assurance