Cisco Systems Turns to Radian6 to Unify Its Social Presence

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Cisco Systems has a vast array of enterprise-geared technology products and services, diverse customers around the globe, and a social presence that matches the company's complexity. The Silicon Valley–based networking equipment company has more than 100 Twitter accounts and 75 Facebook pages, and receives as many as 6,000 mentions a day on these social media sites, Web communities, and forums. With so much volume, Cisco needed a powerful solution to unify its handling of social media.

During Cisco's search for a vendor of social listening tools, only Radian6 provided both social listening tools and ways to act on them. Using Radian6, Cisco's social media hub can pick up on a consumer who tweets about a bad call center experience, then send him a custom link to chat with an agent and turn that frustrated caller into a customer, explains Cisco Social and Digital Marketing Manager Charlie Treadwell. Although Radian6 was not part of Salesforce.com at the time, its acquisition was a boon for Cisco, which was already using Salesforce.com.

Radian6's social listening tools have enabled the company to better understand its audience. A dashboard features heat maps, word clouds, and other visuals that can streamline interpretation of a product launch or campaign. Instead of doing a focus group and a whitepaper, then surveying customers afterward, a content marketing team can use the listening tools to evaluate their messaging more quickly and cheaply. The program includes mobile options that have earned Treadwell's approval. "The iPad app is better than the desktop app, to be honest," he says.

The tool has helped Cisco manage the huge volume of people talking about the company, while filtering out the noise, such as mentions of Cisco, Utah, or the musician with the same name. "You can do broad listening that brings back a ton of social data for Cisco to sift through and find actionable," reports Gordon Evans, Salesforce.com's vice president of Marketing Cloud.

Once Radian6 has done its broad listening, humans step in to look at what Radian6 pulls in, help categorize the priority of a response, and direct it to the right team. Only 5 percent to 6 percent of messages actually require a response.

A response to a customer complaint, for example, will include a unique chat link that will fill the customer service representative in on the customer's history. In one case, someone complained on social media about a bad experience, which was captured by Radian6. After a chat with a new service representative, the person ended up buying a product and being delighted by the turnaround in his experience, Treadwell recalls.

Treadwell is at the center of Cisco's "hub and spoke" model. His team helps route the messages to a digital marketing lead within a particular group. That person is tasked with deploying the group's expert knowledge on WebEx, routers, or cloud systems. The messages will show up in that person's queue, eliminating the need for each product team to filter through product messages. That power particularly impressed the WebEx team, Treadwell remembers. For example, when customers were complaining about Cisco's conferencing application on social media, its competitor was getting to those people first, offering them a free trial of a rival product. Implementing Radian6 allowed the company to win back those dissatisfied customers.

Radian6 also increased Cisco's efficiency in monitoring existing forums. "One of the biggest parts of the ROI of Radian's social listening is that improved efficiency of not having to have someone monitor something constantly," Treadwell says. "When something does pop up, we don't have to send around fifteen emails to try to find the right person to respond."

The increase in productivity contributed to the swift payoff of Cisco's investment in Radian6—in just five months.

Expanding the use of Radian6's easy-to-use platform is part of Cisco's long-term strategy. Currently 240 employees use Radian6, but it can accommodate up to 10,000. Treadwell hopes to create a large pool of people who can contribute their specialized knowledge where needed.

Radian6 is designed for a customer "trying to democratize social throughout an organization," Evans explains. One reason "Cisco has had such success is that [it] extended it throughout the company in a very actionable way," he observes.

Because Radian6 is part of Salesforce.com's product suite, social media can receive credit for a sales lead, an important factor in getting people across the company to recognize the channel's value. "Once you find people interested and making purchasing signals, Cisco can engage that consumer and drive that sale," Evans says.

Treadwell sees Radian6 as a support system to the existing marketing funnel. "A lot of times what happens is something breaks down in the funnel, people don't find what they need or have a bad experience, and they get frustrated and reach out to social media," he describes. "We think of our social listening as a protective area on the outside of the funnel, like bumper lanes on a bowling alley. We can redirect that person and give them what they need."

The Payoff

After implementing social listening tool Radian6, Cisco:

  • saw a return on its investment in five months; and
  • developed the ability to monitor customer sentiment and respond to issues voiced on social media.

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