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Summary:

When I first heard of GetSatisfaction, I started using it as a repository for my rants about bad customer service and software or Web apps issues for companies and their products. I liked the premise of GetSatisfaction – dialogue with other customers who may be experiencing […]

get-satisfaction-people-powered-customer-serviceWhen I first heard of GetSatisfaction, I started using it as a repository for my rants about bad customer service and software or Web apps issues for companies and their products. I liked the premise of GetSatisfaction – dialogue with other customers who may be experiencing similar issues and might have answers is a smart way of crowdsourcing technical support.

However, early on, many companies were not monitoring the site and not addressing the complaints. In fact, one of my rants was actually addressed by a former employee of the company in question.

Now I’m finding that GetSatisfaction is becoming a key tool in troubleshooting all of the technical – and vendor – issues that come up in my web work.

First, I had to make sure that I was accessing the right forum to vent my frustrations. Then I had to decide if I had a question or was announcing a problem. GetSatisfaction prompts you to provide as much detailed information as possible to expedite the process of getting a response and appropriate answer or recommendation.

My latest GetSatisfaction interaction occurred when I discovered that a Firefox Add-on that I was trying out – Power Twitter – wasn’t working well for me. In addition to a few bugs that were driving me crazy, my typical twittering flow was being interrupted by the app. Granted, I knew the app was in beta, but when I realized it wasn’t for me at this time, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to remove it from my browser.

My first thought was tweet it so I put out the question “How do I remove Power Twitter from my browser?” The recommendations that initially came in were telling me to download an application cleaning software to remove it. This didn’t sound right to me. Then I noticed a tiny T3 at the top of my Power Twitter’d Twitter page. Clicking on it led me directly to the company’s GetSatisfaction page. Smart. Very smart.

get-satisfactionI posted my quandry in the company’s support forum, and gave my question a catchy title (per GetSatisfaction’s recommendation): “How Do I Kill Power Twitter?” Okay, maybe I was a little harsh. But it got responses from other users. The trick was to go to my Firefox menu: Tools > Add Ons > Extensions > Uninstall.

To be honest, the first person to give me the above solution was on Twitter, and the tweets came in within about an hour of my initial question while the GetSatisfaction responses were hours later than that. Still, I’m impressed that a company would have the foresight to build in a link or button to get users – beta or otherwise – straight to their GetSatisfaction forum. While I didn’t hear yet from an actual employee of the company, clearly harnessing the combined knowledge and experience of customers is working.

You may also want to use GetSatisfaction to make suggestions and recommendations to a company for their product or application, especially if you’re a beta user. Sending your ideas to a company directly may get lost in the ether while posting it on GetSatisfaction creates a permanent record which has obvious value.

Companies can benefit from paying power users of their products to monitor and participate on their GetSatisfaction page. Or GetSatisfaction could build in some kind of payment or “tipping” process for very helpful members. The helpful advice and solutions are really worth the money.

Have you been getting satisfaction from GetSatisfaction.com yet? What other ways are you getting great customer service?

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  1. I’m confused. How did you manage to install a Firefox add-on without understanding how to uninstall it? Both actions use the same menu. The fix you mention works for every Firefox add-on. Was there something else complicating things for you?

    Not making fun, I swear. Just genuinely confused.

  2. Kevin Dwinnell Friday, January 9, 2009

    Brand Thunder (www.brandthunder.com) uses Get Satisfaction as our customer support tool, with good results so far.

    We’re a start up and this is the most efficient means for us to manage support. Employees get an email notification of the question and can then respond. We’ve all created accounts and each person has been good about addressing questions for their area of expertise.

    The questions and comments have also helped shape our product improvements.

    It was important for us to have a vehicle like this. We build branded browsers (enhancements to Firefox, that we’re now calling BOOMS). We combine Extensions and Themes into a single installation. BOOMS distributed by the brand (NASCAR, HuffPost, etc) weren’t the issue. The Firefox community was getting confused.

    Most of our Firefox users were looking at either Extensions or Themes to remove the appropriate element. We installed two items at once, and both could be removed at the same time if you used our link in the Help menu or toolbar button. However, the Firefox user would only look in one of those locations and after uninstall, it looked like we were leaving elements of our work. Questions in Get Satisfaction helped surface the issue and allowed us to develop a solution for it.

    Long winded answer, but we’ve found it to be a good tool. We point to it from addons.mozilla.org and from within our BOOMS.

  3. Aliza Sherman Friday, January 9, 2009

    Mrshl – You are teasing me, right? When you install a Plug-in, unless you do it manually (the similar process to uninstalling), the installation happens automatically. Download, installation, then all you have to do is restart your browser and it is installed. If I had ever manually installed a browser app, I certainly could have reverse-engineered the process. But since every app I’ve installed has been automatic, I never have had to tap into that menu of options.

  4. We’ve been trying out GetSatisfaction for telegraph – a Basecamp addon for importing news from RSS feeds – for about half a year now.

    I’m generally quite satisfied with the service as such. The website works great and the API made it easy for us to integrate a list of recent questions into our web app.

    However one thing that does bother me is the effort required from experiencing a problem to actually reporting it on GetSatisfaction. Users will have to go to another site, create an account there etc. I wonder how many of our users thought that to be too much of a hassle and just gave up on posting their comment or reporting their problem.

    I think this could be partially solved through their feedback tab widget but unfortunately this does not support HTTPS yet.

  5. Hi Aliza,
    We have been using GetSatisfaction at DeskAway for about 6 months now. Its a pretty cool tool though I hoped they would have a few features that ZenDesk has. So, a customer service community + help desk.

  6. As a user, I’m not a huge fan of GetSatisfaction. The few times I’ve used it, I had a hard time finding anything useful.

    A better solution in my opinion would be the combination of a forum and feature request tool like UserVoice

  7. I have used GetSatisfaction a bit on both sides (as a company and as a customer) and am generally pleased. I do agree with some of the other comments though, a user does have to go through a rather involved process to post something to the site.

    The other thing that concerns me with using this service, from a company point of view, is that you are “outsourcing” a major part of your support infrastructure. If GetSatisfaction goes away for whatever reason or is just having a bad server day then it reflects poorly on you. That argument can be made with any hosted service, but you need to think about any client facing tools that you have no control over because they could potentially come back to bite you. You could just as easily accomplish the same thing by installing a forum on your own server.

    This wasn’t meant to be a negative post about GetSatisfaction. I think it’s a good idea but shouldn’t be a replacement for other support resources like trouble tickets and FAQs.

  8. Aliza,

    hi, dont wish to spam you – maybe you might have a look at our service and give me your opinion?

    Its a different, more specific and direct, and maybe more comprehensive approach to the failed side of customer service and how to turn it around for ALL parties involved…

    Rgds,

    Neil
    CEO
    ComplaintCommunity.com

  9. I’ve used GetSatisfaction from both sides as well, and I’m generally pretty happy.

    I don’t mind registering as a user the first time to post a question because I am registering once and I can post questions for so many different services. This applies to tech savvy people who will have lots of questions, but for a first time user the bar could be high, so they might need to introduce a quick post feature.

    @cody seems weird to request a forum and a feature request tool like UserVoice, when thats just a subset of GetSatisfaction. I’ve been confused by people who use UserVoice because the techsupport aspect is much more compelling than the feature request tool. Good customer service is critical to growing a business, while feature requests might just be small subset of customer service. Not to mention users are notoriously bad at making feature requests. Read 37 Signals on this issue, they suggest you just toss out the feature requests, though GetSatisfaction provides you with tools to track them.

    As for the concern about using a service thats not in your control/hosted, thats one of the main benefits of GetSatisfaction. By using their service you are providing a level of transparency into your company, product, and user base that is very confidence inspiring. Customers catch on to this sort of thing, and the fact that you’re ok with being transarent on not being in total control is what will help you build a stronger reputation with customers.

    The SaaS model / hosted software debate is one thats long since been decided. Web based software hosted by someone else is here to stay, and the Cloud computing trend is just making it more affordable. In the build vs buy decision its almost always cheaper and more secure to let a 3rd party specialist take care of those things for you, thats what they do. That way you can stick to your core business.

    It would be a big mistake to suggest any company spend time and resources hosting their own solution (especially since there are so many good products out there to choose from), when they could be working on their business, unless their business is building hosted tech support software :-)

  10. I hate the crap.
    It is worse than useless.

    I have tried using it several times.
    After a while i forget why it blows, but i am always reminded when i return.

    Its everything a app/site shouldn’t be.
    Bloated, messy, slow, buggy, user hostile.
    A typical web-2.0-wannabe thing.

    Some examples among countless:

    When you type in a comment you have to do it in a microscopic square. Yet there is plenty of room to fill the surrounding page with tons of crap, some moving around sliding in and out as you type.
    How about allowing the user to focus on the task?

    I took the time to combat the crap GUI and fill out some well thought out feedback on a site, but when i tried to send it i was presented with a register-or-loose-it message.
    No warning beforehand, talk about shotgun recruiting.
    Even using openid you couldn’t just simply login and send.
    You had to “create an account”
    What the hell for?

    Yep they may have a great number of registered “users”.
    But i wonder how many throwaway user names spelled “fuckyou” or similar there are.

    This is not how you build GUIs, or how you treat users.

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