Today’s customers don’t just want a great product, they demand an elevated experience. Customers want a clear path to installing, using, and optimizing their purchases so that they can accelerate their time to business value.

Increasingly, customers want to control their experience – when they access information and from which sources. One of the most frequented places our customers turn for the information they need is the Cisco Community, where customers share best practices, find useful resources, and have questions answered by their peers and Cisco subject matter experts.

To underscore the growing popularity of self-guided customer engagements, this month we surpassed one million registered Cisco Community members. And the trend is accelerating: the past three years almost 70,000 customers on average have become registered members, up from 40,000 per year over the previous 20 years. In fact, on average, more than three million people visit the Community every quarter, viewing 15 million pages. These pages include more than thirty-five thousand discussions in eight languages, including the new Korean and expanded Portuguese communities.

Why Communities? Why Now?

Increasingly, customers want a self-directed, digital experience. They don’t necessarily want to use phone or chat support to get their questions answered. According to industry analysts at Gartner, successful communities enable customers to find solutions to problems on their own or with the help of their peers. Additionally, communities provide users the flexibility to engage at any time of the day or night and from any place, whether over morning coffee, a midnight snack, or while watching a weekend sporting event.

Gartner research also reveals that a community’s value has expanded from troubleshooting support questions to becoming one of the most effective means for advanced or complex usage adoption. Customers “are able to coalesce around similar situations and challenges, where the context and application of the technology can be more effectively explored by domain experts and practitioners.”

The Cisco Community is a peer-to-peer technical online destination where Cisco customers, Community VIPs, partners and employee subject matter experts collaborate and exchange ideas in a trusted environment. At a high level, it’s a 24/7 social unit. Over time, the Cisco Community has become a central location that sources, aggregates, and archives the knowledge shared over the years.

While discussions are central to the Cisco Community experience, they represent just one facet of the value customers receive. Additional resources for members include:

  • Events: Cisco Community holds events, such as live chats, Ask Me Anything best practices sharing, support talks, meet the authors, and Cisco virtual events and webcasts.
  • VIPs: There are 50 community VIPs who are recognized by their peers as top individual contributors for their expertise and contributions.
  • Spaces: Private spaces exist to facilitate conversations for certain groups, including partners, such as a space for customers with signed NDAs and contracts with Cisco where they gain access to various briefings, roadmaps, and demos.
  • Language localization presents content and discussions in eight different languages
  • Highly moderated paid service: Cisco Community also has a paid section moderated by Cisco where members can get their questions answered even more quickly than with the free member portion of the site.

In addition, the Customer Connection loyalty program – a subset of the Cisco Community — provides access to product teams, including roadmap briefings, beta and early adopter programs, and opportunities to provide feedback on products and services. More than 30,000 members have joined the program. Gartner states “the ability to regularly interact with product managers is critical to customers’ strategic and tactical planning efforts….Cisco customers view the program as a differentiator” (3 Ways Technology Marketers Can Advance a Customer Community’s Maturity, May, 2021).

Making It Easier for Our Customers

Simply put, the Cisco Community makes it easier for our customers to find the information they need from sources they trust – their peers, designated VIPs, partners and Cisco subject matter experts.

If you’re involved with Cisco technology but haven’t explored the Cisco Community site, I encourage you to register and take advantage of the rich body of knowledge and insights shared by some of the most advanced thinkers in the Cisco Community.

And if you’re already a member, I thank you for your continued participation. One million Cisco Community members and growing; it’s cause for celebration!