Most people know Intel as a provider of microprocessor for large manufacturers like Apple, Dell and HP. A large portion of their business is driven by the elaborate network of customers – resellers, partners, etc.. from around the globe. To remain innovative Intel must enroll, engage, and entertain the most brilliant minds to continue to push the boundaries of technology. They realized the ability to collect and harness the power of that collective wisdom would be best served by social media.

The Old Way Of Doing Business. In the past they had used traditional focus groups, where engineers, scientists and business people would gather from around the globe and spend a week or so together, creating new possibilities. What they found was that ,in addition to the expense of flying people from all over the globe, while the conversations were great — they were more difficult to keep ongoing conversations as the same level of creativity and intensity. Once back at home, the everyday work/home life catches up with everyone. And they clearly saw the need and desire of the collective wisdom to be in more continuous conversations.

Intel decided to use social media as a platform to look at key business factors and sustain these conversations on a continuing basis. Intel engaged key customers in open discussion about how to improve their customer experience. First they found a need for customer’s to be able to contact Intel quickly and securely to discuss product or process issues or ideas. And second, Intel found that the customers wanted the ability to engage with each other without involvement from Intel. Of course, privacy and security were of the utmost importance!

Intel began by evaluating the customer experiences, its methods of being in communication with its customers and its ability to target and engage customers and maximize effective, relevant, just-in-time communications.

Faster and Better Responses to Customer Questions. Intel has developed a sophisticated interaction plan that focuses on quickly identifying unanswered questions in the community and effectively engaging Intel product experts in community conversations. The community managers came up with the idea of Brokers and Floaters. Brokers monitor specific areas in the community for questions and then connect the appropriate Intel expert with the question at hand. Floaters do not belong to a specific section of the community but freely roam from area to area looking for questions on specific topics that match their expertise. By effectively leveraging these individuals, Intel assures that community members’ critical questions get answered in a proactive and timely manner.

Intel’s Social Media Benefits. Intel worked hard to define how its on-line communities would enrich the experience of its customers who are hungry for information about Intel’s products and want to interact with their peers. By providing these customers with the expertise and information they need via these on-line communities, Intel continues to maintain and strengthen its competitive advantage in the market. Intel’s on-line communities have enabled the company to engage more deeply with customers and respond more effectively to customer questions, which builds stronger loyalty. And Intel’s on-line communities have not only improved the customer experience, but they have helped the company reduce operating costs.

For more details, here’s the case study: Intel Uses Social Media To Transform The Customer Experience

This is part of a series of case studies on customer service and how to use social media to transform the customer experience, reduce costs and transform your business. It is based on the best practices doc: Best Practices: Five Strategies For Customer Service Social Media Excellence.

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Other documents in this series…The first part of each listing is the link is to the Forrester Case Study or document and the second part of each title has a link to the story on my blog– that way if you are not a Forrester client (yet 😉 ) you can see some of the results and start taking action!

Case Study 1:ACT! By Sage Uses Social Media To Transform The Customer Experience

Case Study 2: Lenovo Takes Ownership Of Social Media To Reduce Customer Service Costs

Case Study 3:InfusionSoft Improves The Customer Experience With Social Media

Case Study Achieves Customer Service Scalability Goals Using Social Media

Best Practices in Social Media:Five Strategies Customer Service Professionals

The ROI of Social Media:How to Calculate the Return on Investment for Customer Service