Lithys 2017: Microsoft - Support Savings Titan

Lithys 2017: Microsoft - Support Savings Titan

Our main goal on the community is to provide a better digital customer support experience and to create a digital destination for our customers.



Company: Microsoft logo.png

Entry submitted by: Sandy Rivas (Program Manager– Power Users Communities) & Miguel Martinez (Sr Product Marketing Manager)

Community: Power BI Community

Lithy category: Support Savings Titan


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


Customer Care Goals

When our CEO Satya Nadella took over the reins, he brought a new mindset to the entire organization, which was a customer-first mindset. He changed the game on how we manage customers and their experience with us. Therefore, launching a community to put our customers first was a natural step.


Our main goal on the community is to provide a better digital customer support experience and to create a digital destination for our customers.


We launched the Power BI Community as a place where business intelligence experts and peers can connect, learn and discuss the topics most important to them and to get the answers they needed. We knew we needed a place where our customers (both free-mium and premium) can connect. When we originally launched in July 2015, the community was built from a support and case deflection view, but has grown to much more than just that.


Prior to launch, we created personas on what our customer looked like and what they wanted. What we found is that they wanted to self-serve. We knew our customers didn’t want to submit a support ticket or call support. Our customers are independent and want to search for their own answers. Most customers that have a problem and/or a question with Excel or Power BI, will ask a search engine first. So, having a community serve up the answers through SEO, has transformed our support initiatives.


Customer Care Organization

This year, our customer service organization went through a big change. We made the business decision to stop free support tickets. This was a bit of a risk as we didn’t know how our customers would react. We officially announced that the Power BI Community would be the only way to get free support. We would no longer accept customer support calls or tickets. All customers would be directed to the community moving forward.


To our amazement, we did not have one complaint with the change. The news was widely accepted by our customers. This validated that our community was working and our customers do, in fact, want to self-serve.


Another focus for our team this year was to foster more engagement. We put a plan in place for each user and member to get more engagement on the community. Our plan is a cycle to:

  • Motivate people by building trust and showing the value in community
  • Educate people by getting the info they need and more opportunities to participate
  • Celebrate people by offering badges and recognition for engagement

Having the community has also highlighted that our customers love our products and are true experts. We have a dedicated fan-base and that’s not by accident. This community has always been out there. We intentionally, now gave them a place to connect, learn and have fun. Just visit our community and you can see the edutainment tone and environment.


Our customers show us the love. Just check out this Power BI Pride by customers:   


In fact, a few customers even surprised us and created a video to wish us a happy birthday. Watch this video here:




Last, and maybe most important, we provide customers an avenue to share and showcase. Our community blog is very active with members sharing insights and helpful guidance.  Our custom developed Data Stories Gallery  has proven to be very popular.



This gallery provides members an opportunity to showcase their expertise with our product.  This has led to a variety of other galleries to provide more options for product usage sharing and inspiration and keeping the motivate, educate and celebrate cycle in motion.



The Results

We’re happy and proud of the community both on the qualitative side and quantitative side.


On the qualitative side, we set out to provide support and bring a group of common-minded people together. The Power BI Community did just that. Our members and many visitors – come to our community because it has an ‘edutainment feel’ where they have fun learning and is a safe place to ask questions. We pride ourselves in having that tone and theme on the community.


Additionally, the Power BI Community’s success has inspired other product units and teams across Microsoft to want to do the same thing. They want to build their own community, specifically modeled after ours. Currently PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Microsoft Stream communities are following the same model. 


We have also noticed a pattern of products getting ready to preview, insist on launching the product with a community modeled after ours.  If that’s not validation – we don’t know what is!


On the quantitative side, our community grew much faster than we ever anticipated.


Our user numbers speak for themselves:

  • 297K Monthly Unique Visitors to Community (March 2017)
  • 4.3M Solution Views in last 12 months
  • 3.2M SEO Referral Visits to the Community in last 12 months
  • 3.89M Visits to Power BI Community in last 12 months
  • 98.77% Overall Response Rate

However, the greatest achievement has been to put an actual dollar amount to prove the success of our community. We have seen $2.24M in SEO Value and $145M Case Deflection Savings.







Love the "role model community within Microsoft" part of the story. Great job @Sandy and @maikelson and the whole team of inspiring and organisation to live customer connection. And on top of all being able to back it up with such impressive value metrics. 👏