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Lithium Unveils a Running Tally for Your Social CRM ROI

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

MatthewT.jpgMatthew Thomson is a Senior Product Manager at Lithium Technologies and all round cool guy.


You can follow him on Twitter at @daddymention and on Lithosphere he is MatthewT. Don't even try to take one of his Foursquare mayorships.



There's a lot of talk about the value of social software as being immeasurable. But that attitude keeps social software in the realm of social experiment instead of moving it into the pantheon of "mission critical addition to the business."


At Lithium, we deal with some pretty savvy customers, and we've learned a lot from them about how they measure the value they're getting from our service. Over the past year, I've spent a lot of time working with customers to use the data that we collect to them demonstrate the value of their Support communities to their management.


So we decided to take it that extra step and put those same simplified calculations into our new Engagement Center in the Support Overview tab. Since we're huge fans of Turbo Tax, we loved the idea of providing a simple in-app calculator that Support communities can use to track the value created over time, in real-time. 


Behold: the Total Value Created and Value of Cases Handled widgets. Both of these use simple calculations to come up with a useful estimate of the savings your community is generating.


Support ROI DashboardLet's take a look at how this works.


The real action takes place in the Settings tab. This is where we need you to plug in some numbers. The numbers we need from you are:



  • Average Cost of Phone Incident - How much you pay for a phone incident.
  • Average Cost of Email Incident - How much you pay for an email incident.
  • Average Cost of Chat Incident - How much you pay for a - you guessed it - chat incident.



Then you need to tell us how these channels break down in terms of their frequency of use as a means of support. Hint: These should total 100%.



  • Phone as % of All Incidents - What % of support incidents are solved on the phone.
  • Email as % of All Incidents - What % of support incidents are solved via email. 
  • Chat as % of All Incidents - What % of support incidents are solved via - wait for it - chat.



Next, you need to do a little more work and give us an understanding of how your community fares with regard to the quality of the content and the mix of traffic.



  • Solutions as % of All Views - This is the % of people who leave your community feeling like they've had their problems solved. Many of our customers generate this data by polling their users.



  • Robots as % of All Views - This is what % of your traffic you think comes from crawlers and spiders like Google, etc. These robots obviously don't have problems you can solve.


Support ROI Settings

Once you input those numbers, sit back and grab a snack. Lithium does the rest, calculating how many views your threads get, checking how many accepted solutions you have, and then determining how many potential cases your community has deflected. To get a quick understanding:


Direct Deflections = Accepted Solutions: If someone marked it an Accepted Solution, we reason that it must have solved at least one person's problem.


Indirect Deflections = Solutions as % of All Views x Views: We take the percentage you indicate and multiply it by how many views we see that you get on your threads. Our logic is that they landed on a thread for a reason. We don't count views of your community's home page and such. Why? No one can get a support answer there.


We’'ve purposely created a very simple calculator so that it can apply to many of our customers and be simple to implement. At the same time, the basic functionality should lead you provide us with the most natural ways to extend it over time. We’'re open to suggestions. We've already garnered a ton of feedback from our extended beta. Here are two, future directions:



  1. Choose  forums to include. Not all forums have support written all over them. We want you to be able to choose only those that can actually help your customer.
  2. Auto-fill for Solution % and Robots %. The latter we can do right now and we'll make that available in the next version. The former is more difficult but totally attainable. We'll be enlisting survey tools in the near future that will allow you to use exit surveys to populate this field.

The Support calculator is just the first of its breed. We expect to release both Marketing and Innovation calculators in the coming months, so you can get a more complete picture of the return on your Social CRM investment.


Let us know what you think.


Version history
Last update:
‎03-24-2010 05:00 PM
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