No, this isn't an opinion missive or thought leadership article on how to ask for feedback. No, today is all about transparency and clarity. I'd like to take this Think Friday opportunity to beg, grovel, and blatantly outright ask for your input.
We've been running the Rational Support social spaces for well into three years now, gaining on four in some spaces. All our efforts are of course focused on providing you, our clients, with higher value and better ways of finding solutions. Over this time we've sent out a few surveys to get a sense of direction and sentiment from you directly. But today, we'd like to change our tactic and specifically ask you directly for feedback in our comments to let us know how we're doing.
If you're anything like us you know how valuable direct feedback is, which is one of the reasons we are making this call to you. We like to work in an open, transparent, and authentic fashion, so it shouldn't come as any surprise to know that, in part, this request is also coming to help with our strategy work for the next year, along with year end review cycles.
So, if you've found our efforts here and in our other social presences valuable, we'd love to hear it in the comments section below, or through any medium with which you are most comfortable. But, we'd also love to hear it if you haven't found value too! Of course if the latter is true we'd also like to hear how we can better serve and improve things for you. Your feedback here will be critical to the directions we take in the coming year as well as the level of focus, effort, and resources we devote to these spaces as well. And don't forget that feedback on specific content you find in support portal is also loved and HGIHLY valuable! Take a moment and watch the video below to see what we do with document feedback and how it helps us improve our overall support...
And here's a preemptive thank you to any and all who comment and provide feedback. Know that if you do, you will be our best friends EVER.
image credit: (cc) Some rights reserved by lululemon athletica
Analyst reports and recommendations are all well and good (really, we love them!), but when it comes down to it, a Users' Choice award shows us that YOU think we're pretty darn good too; and that means the world to us!
To quote from the EDC Report's May 29th press release (highlights are my own):
"Users of IBM's Rational tool suite are more satisfied with its features and capabilities than users of any other major software development platform according to the just released Evans Data annual User’s Choice Software Development Platform survey, a competitive user satisfaction survey of over 1200 developers conducted in April. Rational was rated as the best in several categories, including application modeling, parallel programming or high performance computing, support for multiple servers and remote development. It also generated the best overall score and topped eight other major competitors. "
This isn't just a survey of 1200 developers, it is a relative ranking from 1200 globally dispersed developers who actually use the tools included in the report, which is unique for most published surveys (EDC notes that they do have a minimum number of developers for any given product in the report).
What does this mean to us? Well, it means that you, the people actually using our Rational tools suite, see us as the top in our competitive markets. While we take this as a huge compliment, rest assured we don't intend to rest on our laurels. In order to stay at the top we are constantly working to improve on our capabilities to deliver fixes and features and make sure that our tools address your needs, the needs of the developers on the ground using our products, to make sure YOU can deliver with success.
You can read the EDC Press Release here (registration required), which also provides ability to purchase the full report: http://www.evansdata.com/press/viewRelease.php?pressID=188
The long awaited results from our 2011 End of Year survey on Rational Client Support's Social Business efforts are in. You may recall back in December that we ran the survey over the course of the month, ending Dec 31st . Well, we've run it all through our trusty Megatronhydromatic-5000, twisted knobs, pushed buttons, and switched toggles to get some results (don't ask if we used Watson, they won't even let Jason in the same state... something to do with protecting the system from data "corruption", whatever that means ...), which is really all to say: we've finally collated all the responses we received and done the analysis on the data. In the spirit of social transparency, authenticity, honesty, and knowledge sharing, we are sharing out our results below...
But first, a quick reminder of the mission, scope, and intent: IBM Rational support's Social Business mission is to improve visibility of support content, helping to solve problems and get the right answers at the right time to the people who need them, to set ourselves as thought leaders, and to improve satisfaction with all aspects of Rational software. The survey's intent was to elicit feedback from you, our direct audience base, to identify who you are and whether or not you are seeing value from our efforts. The scope of the survey was specific to only our followers/fans (direct audience) who consume our content and may interact with us. While open to all, the survey was not intended for a general audience as it is specific to our efforts in the social business space with questions only our fans and followers would be equipped to answer.
So, with the scope and intent in mind, here's our analysis of responses to each of the six questions we posed:
Question 1: Which of the following best identifies you?
55.6% of respondents indicated they were IBMers, while 32.5% noted they were clients. The high 55.6% indicates that we have a large internal following, though it can possibly indicate that IBMers are simply more likely to leave feedback when requested. In terms of social business success, this spread of clients to IBMers shows us value as it indicates a large network of connected IBM SMEs, providing the structure to leverage skills to assist clients ad hoc.
Question 2: Why do you follow Rational Support on any of our channels? (multiple choices were selectable)
Predominantly, 68.5% of respondents follow us to stay up to date with support in a general sense, indicating that a wide scope of support related content is appropriate for this audience. Second to general content, 61.1% noted they follow for self assist material. Taken in conjunction with the desire for general content as well, this indicates that a good balance of technical and non-technical content is both desired and appropriate. With 33.3% noting they follow to feel a connection to support, this shows that retaining individual voice and personality is appropriate and appreciated.
Question 3: Please rate each of our channels.
Not surprisingly the top rated channel is our NFRS blog, with 61.1% indicating it was “Very useful” or better. Facebook and Twitter both show a gap between “not following” and “somewhat useful” which indicates those who follow find some value. While there is nothing to indicate why our audience doesn't follow one or both of these channels, it is likely due to personal preferences or corporate blocks of those channels. Across the spread of Facebook and Twitter, Facebook does come out ahead in terms of being seen as more useful with 66% of responses indicating value was seen there as opposed to 51.8% indicating the same for Twitter. In general, the results indicate retaining a heavier focus on the blog is the right course of action for us.
Question 4: Has content from Rational Support's social channels helped you solve an issue without calling support?
42.6% of all respondents have avoided at least one support call, with the majority of responses indicating they have avoided creating PMRs at least twice. Of the 24.1% 'other' responses, all but two were IBMers, for whom the question was irrelevant. The two 'other' responses indicated that specific content is tough to find and that using Google to locate specific answers was more effective. Generally speaking, these results show our efforts in amplification of high value content and improving search result efficiencies (socially shared content tends to bubble up in search results now) reflect more value.
Question 5: On which social channel would you be more inclined to interact with us?
Surprisingly, 53.7% indicated they are more inclined to interact with us on Facebook than any other channel. Second to Facebook was the NFRS blog at 40.7% with Twitter and G+ showing an equal level around 25%. This indicates we're in the right place on Facebook. With the number of responses for GooglePlus we will continue to investigate the benefits of a page in that space and how we may be able to bring our audience even more value there. The 'other' responses highlighted LinkedIn as a requested channel, a XING group, on developerWorks forums, as well as direct email. All these responses indicate that investigating these various channel solutions in the next year and adopting those which make business sense will be a target goal, as well as retaining the more traditional forms of communication already in play.
Question 6: Optional, Free text entry. Please let us know what you would like to see from these channels, or provide any additional comments to help us serve you more effectively.
There were some great call-outs here. The most actionable was a request for info on general Support how-tos and entry points. I am happy to say we are currently working on building out some solid posts to address these areas. Another request was to focus on our 'Google juice' to ensure hits via search engines. This actually plays directly into our model showing more value in social amplification and effectiveness via search result improvements. We also got a few comments noting that we had “Too many posts in a short time”. This resulted in an immediate adjustment of our channel feeds to reduce the potential for content floods even before the survey was closed. (In full transparency, the same content floods that caused the comments in the survey were also pain points for me in my own channels.)
In general it seems you, our audience, do find value in our social business efforts. Our blog appears to be the most highly valued of our efforts and as such we should retain our main focus, using the other channels as aggregates to amplify visibility. A focus on helpful support items like 'how to contact' and clarifications of various support concepts like STCs, various IDs, and other how-to type posts will show higher value for our channels. With slightly over 55% of our followers as IBMers, a focus on leveraging our present network to function in a distributed method connecting the right clients with the right SMEs should help us provide even more effective and efficient value across the board. We need to continue targeting and pushing the right content through our social channels at the right times to enable clients like you more direct and ready access to the information you need.
And lastly we owe a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to provide responses via the survey. Without that kind of direct feedback, we'd just be shooting in the dark and hoping we hit our targets... helping us to identify the targets means even better accuracy in the future, and better accuracy in the support world means you spend less time and resources finding good solutions to issues when they crop up.
image credit: (cc) Some rights reserved by jurvetson (The image is of IBM's Sage system, built in 1954 and deployed in 1958 and weighed in at 300 tons.)
Happy New Year to one and all!
Our survey is now closed as of 11:45pm PST last night. Thank you all who responded for providing your honest feedback and insight!
Once back in the office (after January 3rd) we will begin collating and analyzing all the fabulous feedback we received over the past month and will share our findings with you as soon as we have results to share!
For now, enjoy the remainder of your holidays and try not to think too much about anything or turn the lights up too bright... we're sure the headaches will subside soon enough
image credit (cc) Some rights reserved by Sarah_Ackerman
You, yes YOU can help! By taking our quick 6 question survey, you can provide us the valuable feedback needed to improve our channels and improve the value you see by following us! As you may recall from earlier this year, these surveys are specific to the work Rational Support has been doing within the social business spaces. Specifically this means here on our blog, through our Twitter feed, and of course on our Facebook page. By providing your brief feedback surrounding these channels you will have a direct hand in guiding the future of how we utilize each channel and improve the usefulness of each channel for your needs.
To this end, you should see a pop-up survey when navigating to this blog which will enable you to fill out the short 6 question survey without leaving the page. This pop-up will only appear until you've taken the survey once. After that, you won't be bothered with it again. If the pop-up doesn't display you may access it directly here
We run these surveys twice yearly in an effort to gauge our successes and failures beyond simple metrics like clicks and visits. This particular survey will remain available for the month of December, closing on the 31st at 11:45pm PST. We hope you will take a moment and provide your input on our efforts.
We recognize the importance and value of your direct input, and are committed to making changes based upon what you tell us. In this world of information overload demanding returns on your investment of time, we want to make sure you are seeing the best ROI possible by following us. But, for Kelly, Matt, and Jason to make any changes here, we need to hear from YOU! After all, there's no technology in the world more valuable than direct client feedback!