Startup Get Satisfaction made a name for itself by moving customer service away from company web sites and onto pages that are created by customers themselves. Now the San Francisco company is expanding its approach beyond the Get Satisfaction site — to Facebook.
Many companies already have Facebook Fan Pages where they can interact with their customers, but Get Satisfaction has partnered with a company called Involver to turn these pages into what it calls Social Engagement Hubs. These improved pages will feature a “support” tab including many of the same features as a Get Satisfaction page, with options to “Ask a Question,” “Share an Idea,” “Report a Problem,” or “Give Praise.”
Co-founder and President Lane Becker told me that one of the big drawbacks of a standard Facebook Fan Page is that it has “no memory,” because the content is lost as soon as it scrolls off the wall. That eliminates one of the big selling points of doing customer service online — companies should be able to address a question once and have their answer reach many people, permanently. Instead, they end up having the same one-on-one conversation over and over again.
So in addition to giving more structure to the page, the Social Engagement Hub stores all the conversations and makes them searchable. When someone types in a problem, the service’s first response is to search for similar problems in the database, so the customer gets a solution more quickly and the company doesn’t have to waste time re-posting the same answer. And these conversations can be shared and searched back on a company’s Get Satisfaction page, making them accessible via Google searches as well (which is where many customer service queries begin).
Becker added that this should help make Get Satisfaction a viable option for small businesses, because customizing and managing a Get Satisfaction page still requires a little technical know-how, while a Facebook Fan Page should just work intuitively. The Social Engagement Hub is primarily designed for big brands, but Get Satisfaction plans to roll out a simpler version for small businesses in the next few months.
During my conversation with Becker, it also became clear that Get Satisfaction has become very focused on selling itself to companies — which makes sense from a business perspective, but seems like a change from its early credo of letting customers take control of customer service conversations. But that philosophy is still part of the company, Becker said. After all, the new features are a way to bring better customer support to a site where customers are having relevant discussions already.
(Disclosure: The company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Thor Muller, used to be an advisor to VentureBeat, but he’s no longer active with us.)
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