How the Online Community at SAS Provides Customer Support

VengresoPodcast Modern Marketing Engine How the Online Community at SAS Provides Customer Support

How the Online Community at SAS Provides Customer Support

This podcast features Chris Hemedinger and Shelley Sessoms, two SAS employees whose efforts can be seen on the SAS Support Communities. As Senior Manager of Online Communities, Chris leads the team of three Community Managers including Shelley. The SAS Support Communities complement their technical support team and are not meant to replace it. In this episode, you’ll discover how the re-energized community plays a pivotal role in their customer support strategy and adds marketing value to SAS.

In an effort to create a deeper connection with community members, SAS evolved their 10-year-old online support community to include more technical and newsworthy content. Established in 1976, SAS is a recognized leader in business analytics software and the largest independent company in the business intelligence market.



On This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • How SAS’ 10-year-old online support community has evolved and encourages peer-to-peer help.
  • How there is a group of four individuals who oversee the community and curate content to encourage interaction.


  • How the online community is optimized for mobile users with a lighter version.
  • What is involved in the role of a community manager and why Shelley (affectionately) says it’s like herding cats.
  • How the 20 different communities at SAS are broken up among the three community managers.
  • How the community managers involve employees outside of the support team as problems arise that require specific expertise.
  • How the community managers have SAS employees write content to address recurring issues.
  • Why Chris says the biggest challenge of getting non-support employees involved is letting them know they have permission to communicate with customers.
  • How SAS polls their customers to find out what content they should create.
  • How content is created before deciding whether it should be posted in the community, as a blog or in a newsletter.
  • How the online community at SAS works with the marketing department and social media program.
  • How messages shared on the community are often amplified through social media.
  • What is published by SAS Press, their media channel.
  • How SAS conducts support-related, live community events.
  • How the community is only one component to SAS’ support services.
  • How members are recognized with badges and rank levels as part of the gamification strategy of SAS’ online community and how that encourages further interaction within the community.

  • How the community is not meant to replace tech support, but to provide more places for discussion about products and self-service as desired.
  • Why Chris says if you don’t have a branded community, your customers are talking about you somewhere else and you should consider a community to host those conversations.
  • Why Shelley says listening can help you to improve your business and communications.

Host your customers’ conversations on a branded community; otherwise, they’re talking about you somewhere else.
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There are TWO WAYS you can listen to this podcast with Shelley Sessoms and Chris Hemedinger from SAS.

You can click the Listen Now button at the top of this page… Or, you can listen from your mobile device’s podcast player through iTunes or Stitcher.

P.S. Don’t miss next week’s podcast episode with Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatter and author of the best-selling book Shareology. Subscribe to our podcast to stay current on new episodes delivered to your inbox every Friday!

Download Social Business Journal, Volume 5: The Community Playbook.

Meaghan Alvarado

Meaghan Alvarado is one of Vengreso's social media and content writing masters. She is a valuable member of our social media client content writing team. She manages employee advocacy, and video marketing programs. Her more than ten years of experience in sales and digital marketing afford her the business acumen and insights to communicate our effectively with amazing results. In her spare time, you can find her practicing or teaching yoga, or watching Shark Tank alongside her husband and three dogs.

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