Customer Service and the Web 2.0 platform GetSatisfaction.com


I am looking for ways to improve customer services of some existing web platforms. Using ‘GetSatisfaction.com’ might be a good way to do this! Below I present an overview of this exiting platform, and indicate some key benefits.

To be clear: I have not had any real experience yet with using GetSatisfaction.com in this way.

Does a New Website Hold the Secret to Great Customer Service?

Summary of this interview with CEO of GetSatisfaction.com Thor Mueller – with my comments on some of his quotes added:

  • ‘Launched in September, 2007, the site provides forums where customers discuss problems with products and services of 2,500 companies from Apple to Zappos — whether the company participates or not. (…) We’ve got companies large and small that are actively participating, ranging from Comcast and Google and Paypal to more up-and-comers like Twitter and Timbuk2.’

GetSatisfaction is a viable platform – well known startups such as Twitter use it; it is also used by large companies such as Dell and Microsoft.

Some companies have their own employees acting on it; whereas e.g. the Facebook entry on GetSatisfaction is completely run by volunteers. Dell using GetSatisfaction for customers services on 18 different products (as of november 2008)

  • ‘The problem with traditional forums — which in many cases worked quite well over the years — is that they’re often difficult to search or the answer is buried way, way down.’

This is what I see when setting up communities, e.g. by using www.ning.com – ning.com is a great platform, but has limited capabilities for customer services. GetSatisfaction.com could be used by a group of experienced users from the specific Ning community to help out new users of the Ning community.

  • ‘Our proposition is different; it’s a neutral space. We call it a Switzerland between companies and customers, and it’s designed for positive outcomes.’

The proposition of GetSatisfaction enhances the attractiveness of your community, by offering this neutral space.

  • ‘… In a very basic way, we’re seeing that customer service is the ultimate way of creating word-of-mouth marketing and creating lifetime value with customers.’

‘Word-of-mouth’ marketung is the primary driver for growth of online communities; enhancing it with a customer service platform can enable such growth.

How it works

Key benefits

On Get Satisfaction for Your Company:

  • ‘Create and retain passionate users’
  • ‘Get users involved in improving your products and services’: this is the most important benefit when using it for a ning.com type of community
  • ‘Reduce customer churn and repetitive support tasks’

Technology

  • GetSatisfaction support OpenId ; this makes the barrier of entry lower (easy authentication mechanism)
  • ‘Our feedback widget allows you to collect customer input on any page of your site.’ – this means you can have a tight integration of GetSatisfaction on each of the pages of you site.

Comparison with other customer services platform

Comparison with older ways of online support (FAQ’s etc)

‘Customers helping customers: The first step is to use Web 1.0 tools like a FAQ or knowledge bases to enable customer self-help – this is a fairly standard operating procedure for the vast majority of contact centers. However, beyond this there is an opportunity to allow customers to help each other through forums, wiki product manuals (e.g. see Moto Q wiki), customer-led support (Second Life does it), or online problem solving venues (e.g. see GetSatisfaction.com).’

Possible downsides…

… to using GetSatisfaction.com as complementing a ning.com community; however I do not yet know how serious these downsides are:

  • users have to create yet another account (although the OpenId support makes this a less serious downside)
  • spam messages on your GetSatisfaction forum
  • (for Dutch users): the site is in English, not in Dutch

Government use

From Brian Solis on TechCrunch (‘Is Obama Ready To Be A Two-Way President?‘)- he mentions the idea of using GetSatisfaction:

‘Other opportunities to engage with citizens online include:

– Launch a social network at Change.gov and/or whitehouse.gov

– Create a citizen feedback and collaboration page at GetSatisfaction

What do you think?

It would be great if you would contribute your thoughts, either by posting a comment on this post below, of @replying on my twitter account! Thanks!

One Response to Customer Service and the Web 2.0 platform GetSatisfaction.com

  1. Mike Cichon says:

    Engaging customers in a service community using web2.0 technology does provide compelling benefits. My company, Helpstream, takes this two steps further by providing a knowledge base to capture re-usable content from the community and then integrating community with customer service workflow so customers have an agent-assisted resolution path when self-service fails to address their needs. Helpstream also provides tailorable user profiles and a mechanism to establish the level of end user expertise, so other users have a way to determine how much credibility they are willing to ascribe to comments or suggestions. It’s the difference between wondering around a faceless crowd asking for directions versus networking with people you come to know and trust for reliable information.

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