Lithys 2017: SAS - Surprise & Delight

Lithys 2017: SAS - Surprise & Delight

To the surprise and delight of our SAS Support Community members, we introduced a Super User program in February 2016.




Company:  SAS                                        sas_logo.png

Entry submitted by: Shelley Sessoms (Online Community Manager)

Lithy category:  Surprise & Delight

Community: SAS Support Communities


SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 83,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.


To the surprise and delight of our SAS Support Community members, we introduced a Super User program in February 2016. This program inducts 6 community members, every 6 months, who exemplify the best aspects of the SAS community: they are helpful, knowledgeable and trustworthy. To date, we have inducted 18 Super Users. In addition to the public honor of the “Super User” designation, inductees are given tools that help them expand their community leadership:

  • Super Users are publicly honored with a special rank icon that appears on their community avatar.
  • They have access to a private "Super Users" forum, where they can confer with their fellow "supers" and the SAS community managers.
  • They are invited to "Super Users"-only meetings with SAS staff, where they get the inside scoop on SAS communities and other SAS goings-on.
  • They enjoy more weight from the "Likes" that they give.
  • They receive some special abilities, such as moving stray posts to the proper board, light editing of posts, featuring posts, and marking spam.

While the generalities of the Super User program are known, the particulars are kept under wraps until a member becomes a Super User. It is all part of the mystique of these folks labeled “Super User.”



Super User program description


Goal: recognize and engage the “stars” of SAS Support Communities. These community members can then act as an extension of the formal community team in order to keep the community running smoothly 24/7.


Strategy: Our strategy with Super Users is to keep a constant dialog with them, through virtual and in-person meetings and written communication in their private board. They are encouraged to ask questions, make suggestions and start conversations with us and the other Supers. We also heavily promote the Super Users through social media.


Tactics: SAS’ community managers select Super Users based on their demonstrated behavior in the community. While there isn't a single ranking formula, community managers do look at:

  • Time spent in the community.
  • Quantity and quality of posts.
  • Accepted Solutions, as determined by the members who ask questions in the forums.
  • "Likes" received on posts, indicating helpful or interesting posts.
  • Leadership behaviors, such as advising new community members how to ask questions effectively and post to the most appropriate areas.

Once the community managers determine the list of 6 Super Users, we reach out with an email invitation. The email explains the program, talks about the benefits of being a Super User and stresses that this program is designed to reward and acknowledge the work already done on the communities, not to create more work for the community member. We ask the Super Users to complete a questionnaire so we can get to know them better and have background information on which to base some of their surprise gifts. We also invite them to an introductory WebEx where we formally launch the program, go through the perks they are granted and answer questions. The community team then meets every 2 weeks to review the program and plan upcoming meetings.


In terms of Surprise, Super Users receive surprise gifts throughout their term. The first gift arrives during their first month. A local artisan handcrafts pens made from the wood of an original building on the SAS campus. The pen comes with a story about the building and a personal thank you letter from SAS’ co-founder, Dr. James Goodnight. Super Users have publicly thanked SAS and the communities team via social media, extending our reach even further than our existing accounts. 








Gift #2 comes in the form of a SAS Support Communities-branded shirt. Again, this has been acknowledged socially. One Super User photographed himself in the same manner as the hero imagery on the Super User private board:


That image, below, became the new hero image during his term.

lithys17_sas-campaign-image-009.pngAnd the final gift is often a personal gift, based on answers the Super Users provide to their initial questionnaire.

In terms of Delight, our Super Users have delighted us with their performance on the community. At the conclusion of each term, we hold a WebEx where we thank them for their service and show off their accomplishments. Results from the first batch:



And from the second batch:lithys17_sas-campaign-image-012.png

And their cumulative effort was recently recognized at our annual global user conference, SAS Global Forum. The slide below was shown on screen during the Opening Session. The conference had nearly 5,000 attendees, and the Opening Session was live streamed on the corporate SAS social media Facebook account.




To continue to promote the Super User program and the communities in general, we interviewed one Super User, Michelle Homes, during SAS Global Forum, with plans to use the video in upcoming promotions throughout the year.



It sure was a surprise to be included into the Super Users program and it's a delight sharing, helping and giving back to the wonderful SAS community. As I spoke about in my interview with Anna Brown, the SAS Support Community platform has so many benefits allowing members to interact 24x7, bringing the global network closer. I'm delighted every time I attend a SAS conference and meet people in person I've helped ( and getting the gifts as part of the Super Users program is an unexpected and appreciated delightful bonus! The Super Users program is a fabulous initiative and recognition program. Thank you SAS and the awesome SAS Support Community managers for supporting SAS Users.