Get Satisfaction
September 13, 2007 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Get Satisfaction has launched. It's crowd-sourced customer service -- or something like that.

"[It's] a new way for customers and organizations to work together to get answers, solve problems, and share ideas to create new and better products & services."

It reminds me a bit of Ask.Mefi. I noticed it a while back when Pownce first launched. It is open to everyone now.
posted by chunking express (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bettr Business Breau?
posted by DU at 9:31 AM on September 13, 2007

Cool. Can we get the U.S. government on there?
posted by brain_drain at 9:35 AM on September 13, 2007

So ... eh, this is a multi-company CRM system? I'm not trying to be snarky, but is that what's considered innovative in this instance? I'm just not quite sure why this should be compelling to me.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:38 AM on September 13, 2007

I thought there'd at least be a company rating or something. But it's just a place to "start a conversation" about some experience you had. In other words, they've reinvented the internet, put it on a website behind a login and restricted the topics to corporations.
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on September 13, 2007

posted by 3.2.3 at 9:42 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't get it either. It's just a centralized support forum. I can't think of any reason, besides the (OMGITZ)Web2.0™® (OMGCROWDZORUCING!) buzzwords, that I've seen this site linked four times this morning.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:01 AM on September 13, 2007

Hey, we can do their work for them! Cool!
posted by blacklite at 10:07 AM on September 13, 2007

So, it's a place to bitch about bad service? How is this different from nearly every other message board on the internet?

(Also, I have a complaint about my supermarket... the cashier had no idea what portobello mushrooms were.)
posted by arcticwoman at 10:11 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

So, this site is involved figuring out a way to trick people into doing each other's support work for free so that the companies don't have to?

Seriously, I don't see the part where I get paid to answer these questions.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:11 AM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think they spelled PeeplePwrd wrong.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:13 AM on September 13, 2007

Seriously, I don't see the part where I get paid to answer these questions.

You get paid in whoopie or snuffleupple or whatever that Cory Doctorow reputation cash stuff was. THAT'S WORTH MORE THAN e-GOLD!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:15 AM on September 13, 2007

TheOnlyCoolTim, why do people answer questions on Ask.Mefi? Or more specifically, why do people answer questions about broken iPods on Ask.Mefi, or Windows XP driver problems, or anything else.
posted by chunking express at 11:08 AM on September 13, 2007

I think this is a pretty good idea, something I rarely associate with most "Web 2.0" concepts. I mean, yeh, it's just a "centralized support forum" as eyeballkid said, but I think that's actually quite helpful. Most support forums I go to are built on really poor platforms that FAIL in one or another. Satisfaction seems to have a really nice package here. It's also nice to have standardization -- at some level, most support issues are quite similar. Knowing there was a single site where I could get support for anything would be terrific. I hope the big firms really get behind this and install actual reps to man their Satisfaction forums.

My only criticism is the size and color of each support issue title hyperlink. It's too large and too bright which hinders scanning over a lot of items. I'd quickly develop a headache if I had to look over pages and pages to see if someone had entered my issue already. Also, they need to limit how much of the problem description is shown on the main page.. like maybe 100 chars with [more inside] like AskMefi.

Seriously, I don't see the part where I get paid to answer these questions.
You don't have to do anything. There's no obligation here. But people have problems and shared frustrations so if you have a solution, it's nice to be able to share it with others. We don't delete Apple questions on AskMefi on the premise that "it's Apple's job."
posted by junesix at 11:32 AM on September 13, 2007

I'm curious who's operating Satisfaction and how (and if) it's making money (or planning to). I didn't see any ads when I opened it in IE and there's no sign of pricing. Wonder if it's a small company doing the "build now, monetize later" approach.

Oh yeah, since when did "Support Forums" become "Crowdsourced Customer Service"?
posted by junesix at 11:39 AM on September 13, 2007

TheOnlyCoolTim, why do people answer questions on Ask.Mefi? Or more specifically, why do people answer questions about broken iPods on Ask.Mefi, or Windows XP driver problems, or anything else.

Ask is not purposed as a customer support site for companies that won't do that job, although I have no problem with people asking questions of that nature.

The purpose of this site is for Apple to be able to redirect to this site, and then limit their customer support to having the reps on this site delete answers that put any fault, cost, or responsibility on Apple and occasionally put up some corporate spin.

Of course Apple is, even with no corporate involvement yet, one of the biggest communities on that site as Apple is stop #1 for people who just have to build parts of their identity based on what corporations they give money to.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:01 PM on September 13, 2007

Hi everybody! Lane here from Satisfaction. Sorry for the late in the day reply, but we've been dealing with launch issues. It was fun to see the company announcement show up here -- the last company I started actually got introduced to the world by my pal Stewart here on Metafilter waaay back in 2001, with about the same level of mixed response, so it was a nice deja vu.

I'm going to do the broad strokes on what we're trying to do with Satisfaction, because it's a little outside the norm for what people usually think of as customer service and as such requires a bit of explanation. Every just the idea that you can have customer service without companies -- that customers can start a Satisfaction site for a company without company involvement, and still get a ton of value out of the exchanges that happen there without the companies even participating -- takes a little getting used to.

We really do want to provide customer service for absolutely everything. Everything that has even been made or will ever be made, for any product or service offered by any company or organization of any type. If you’ve got a question about a product, a problem with a service, or an idea you want to share with a company, we’re going to give you somewhere to put it, and we’ll make it easy to get the response you need. And if you’re part of a company, an organization, or even an individual who needs a way to interact with your users (customers, participants, members, listeners, viewers, adherents, advocates, followers, whatever) we’re going to give you the best possible way to do that, as well as tools to get real business value out of the exchange.

Why would anyone participate in this? Because it’s fun! Because people connect with the stuff they own and use, and if they can use that to connect up with other people, so much the better. We’re reframing the idea of customer service, from an experience that’s about unpleasantly long hold times in order to have painful, impersonal interactions with disinterested support reps, to instead be one that’s about endlessly interesting conversation with companies and customers around the products and services they make, use, and can’t live without.

So, that’s a tall order. How will it work? Yes, there are a lot of existing support forums, and that's why we believe what we're doing can work -- we want to work with the passion we see customers demonstrating on existing company-oriented sites (company-run and customer-run) and the interactions they have with the companies they care about in those spaces, and bring that to a much wider audience. We see an opportunity to 1) expand both the range of products and services around which people can form community, and also 2) greatly improve the ease with which a wide range of people can get access to the full breadth of truly useful information that is created as people help each other out.

To the first point: We’re making it incredibly easy to start a customer service community around a company you’re invested in, whether as a customer who needs assistance or as a company that wants to provide better service to its most valued customers. We did some poking around and discovered that, in the majority of cases with consumer products and services, a good 80% of the issues people raise don’t actually require a company response because other customers already have the answer. So while it’s great when companies are involved in a Satisfaction customer service community, and even better when they’re motivated to kick one off for their own use, it’s not a requirement.

And to the second: You know that experience you have, when you do a Google search to find an answer about how to do something — which cord to plug into the back of your new flatscreen tv or which brand of non-disposable organic baby diapers is the most earth-friendly, to give two quick examples — and then Google points you to a superlong page buried deep inside a nondescript discussion forum you’ve never been to before, filled with lots and lots of text but none of it quite matching the answer you need? We think it ought to be a much shorter trip from Google to answer, so that’s what we’re building, one question at a time.

We named the company Satisfaction (and took the url because we genuinely believe that the center of customer service has moved from inside organizations that provide products and services out to the customers. This means companies are going to be engaged in a radically different relationship with their customers, one where the customers are in the driver’s seat. Smart companies need to figure out how to be ok with that — or, better, how to turn it to their (and their customers') advantage. Because this kind of service, when placed in the hands of the customers, becomes not only a better experience for everybody involved, but also allows for a much wider range of beneficial interactions between companies and customers.

There’s a lot more we’ve got planned, but this should give you a good sense of what we hope to achieve. And we do intend to make money off of selling services and access to companies -- particularly in the area of data and analytics, all with an eye towards getting customers and companies more information together about where the companies need to head. We really believe we can turn customer service -- people interacting with each other and with companies about the products and services they use, love, hate, talk about, all that -- into something much, much better than what it is today.
posted by monstro at 4:15 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

There's a lot I could still criticize, but I'll avoid going off on a rant and ask a direct question: Let's say Apple comes out with the new iJunk, and it's horrible. Anyone searching for information or support on the iJunk on your site gets the consensus that you should not buy one or if you own one you should return it immediately and perhaps join the class action lawsuit, that's how bad the thing is. Everyone's given up on actually making the iJunk work right (or if they are it's posted with a lot of complaints about how you have to work around how shitty it is), and people are posting embarrassing but factual stuff about how retarded or evil Apple was in their iJunk design and marketing.

That's perhaps rather extreme, but to have more realistic questions that are certainly product support, and in fact already exist on your site: "How do I unlock the iphone," "how do I work around Apple's restrictions and put my own ringtones on the iphone," and "how do I remove the DRM from itunes?"

Does this situation get to stand, or does Apple, assuming at some point they start paying you for an official presence, get to go in or have you go in and moderate it to a rosy/naive situation?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:46 PM on September 13, 2007

let's start with the simple answer: no, they can't.

and now the longer explanation: who said anything about them paying for an official presence? they can have that for free, because we believe that having companies in the system and interacting with their customers is a big part of the value proposition to companies and customers alike. and then they get to play in our sandbox, and our sanbox puts the customer first.

moderation's managed by us, not by the companies, though they -- like everybody else -- can flag items for review and explain why. as for how moderation works -- our guidelines for moderation have been developed with the help of mr. haughey here, and are laid out on our community guidelines page.

we see ourselves as a switzerland between customers and companies, and maintaining that position is core to our value proposition. it can be a little bit of work to wrap one's head around the idea that customer service, and product/person relationshsips, don't *have* to be company-centric, but that's where we believe the trend is headed, and that's the trend we're working to embrace.
posted by monstro at 4:59 PM on September 13, 2007

That sounds better than I thought this would be, but I really think you're going to run into a problem when the customer support people want is the customer support the corporation's don't want them to have - and that's going to be a likely situation, in some areas at least, and without any real illegality on the part of what the customers want. At a minimum, I feel like if the place is full of iphone unlocking instructions and so on Apple is not going to establish an official presence and probably won't buy any of your data.

(Of course, Apple probably wants the iphones to be unlocked as this will make them sell more, but they want to maintain the scads of cash ATT is paying them and so have to avoid any association.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:15 PM on September 13, 2007

what you're saying has been historically true, but we're seeing a change start to happen with large corporations on just this issue that we're poised to take advantage of.

actually, you get to it a bit with that apple/at&t jab -- we've heard from large companies, over and over, when we put satisfaction in front of them, that they've been wanting a site like this for a while. somewhere where they can hear what consumers have to say and be able to respond without having to deal with the severe legal restrictions on website content foisted on them. they're effectively kept from building their own community platforms by their internal processes, and their fear, and so having a third party place to do that -- one that can provide them with all the business value (hell, more, even, since we're dedicated to it) that they need to get out of such a community -- it's like music to their ears.

they don't want negative feedback on their own site, and they don't know how to deal with criticism on their own brand properties, it's true, BUT they absolutely have to do something to harness the latent value of community and the real marketing value of their customers passion (way better than the one-way version of marketing, and way more cost-effective, too). they're all staring social media in the face and wondering what the hell they're going to do about it. and we've got an solution for them!
posted by monstro at 5:42 PM on September 13, 2007

I think all of that sounds really nice, but I don't know if it'll happen that way, or if people will understand it that way.

Good sales pitch though.
posted by blacklite at 5:44 PM on September 13, 2007

With enough users-and-participation critical mass, I could see this being enormously useful. The trick is always getting enough people to invest their time in it somehow, though... I actually do hope that happens, because this idea has huge potential for being useful, I reckon.

But I didn't really get it until reading this thread, even though I stopped by the site last night for a quick look. Pownce being front-and-center on the index page inspired cognitive dissonance in me, I think -- 'why', thought I to myself, 'would anybody need customer support for that site? Doesn't compute!' *click* (Twenty seconds tends to be my attention span for get it/don't get it these days.)

Still, good luck with it, monstro. I think it's a great idea.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:12 PM on September 13, 2007

well, if it weren't a grand and possibly wrong theory, it wouldn't be much fun to try, would it? let's check back in on this thread in a couple of years and see how we did.
posted by monstro at 11:26 AM on September 14, 2007

I think all of that sounds really nice, but I don't know if it'll happen that way, or if people will understand it that way.

This is pretty much exactly what happens on Ask.Mefi. Get Satisfaction is really just a bunch of niche ask.mefi sites stuck together. The question is whether something like that will work. And as monstro has pointed out, you can actually build the site and see if it does.
posted by chunking express at 12:26 PM on September 14, 2007

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