Cisco SocialMiner Lets Businesses Leverage Social Media

Cisco unveils its SocialMiner business collaboration software, which lets companies monitor what consumers are saying about their products and brands on such sites as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, and more easily respond to questions or issues.

Cisco Systems wants to help businesses keep track of what consumers are saying about them and their products on social networking sites.

Cisco's new SocialMiner collaboration software, unveiled Nov. 3, enables businesses to see what consumers are saying on such sites as Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs and other online networking environments, and to respond to those comments.

The goal is to let businesses become more responsive to customers' demands by seeing what they are saying online about the products, services and brands. Businesses can monitor the public social sites and engage customers when necessary. Companies that aren't taking advantage of the wealth of information that is being passed back and forth on these social networking sites are risking losing ground to competitors, according to John Hernandez, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Customer Collaboration business unit.

"Companies are realizing that by ignoring the online chatter, they're opening up opportunities for their competitors and allowing dialogue about their brand to happen without them," Hernandez said in a statement. "As an active user of social media, Cisco realizes the value of social media interactions to our business. Our employees were some of the earliest adopters of MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social sites. Our own Consumer Products Group is already using Cisco SocialMiner to collaborate with their customers."

Social networking sites are rapidly becoming key places for businesses to find out what consumers think of their products, services and brands, and to address concerns or questions those consumers might have, according to Cisco.

Nielsen reports that more than 1 million tweets are sent out every hour, and that 34 percent of U.S. citizens who are online have used Facebook, Twitter or other social media to talk about a product or company. Finding out what they're saying, and addressing concerns or questions, will increase customer loyalty and product brand reputation, Cisco officials said.

In addition to SocialMiner, Cisco rolled out Cisco Finesse, another collaboration desktop product for customer care representatives. Finesse is designed to bring all the information the representatives need into a single, customizable place, which in turn will enable them to more quickly, easily and accurately deal with callers' concerns, according to Cisco. Businesses can reduce operational costs while improving customer care.

Lastly, Cisco introduced a new network-based rich media capture platform that enables the recording, playback, live streaming and storage of such media as video and audio. The offering is designed to give businesses a more cost-effective way to store the media, and for mining the data for greater business intelligence.