I can’t stand getting a customer support ticket # and an automated response these days. The new way of support is get me in direct contact with the product manager of the the product I am using. If the product manager wants to build a better product and actually hear first-hand impressions on a daily/weekly basis then they must engage in conversation with their users. Two new customer communication sites have received lots of press recently that allow an employee to represent themselves within the company forum on steroids: getsatisfaction.com and suggestionbox.com. Both are hosted solutions with getsatisfaction having an API that you can get your web developers on to hook into your systems.
- getsatisfaction.com is used by companies like Microsoft, Yahoo!, Twitter, and Paypal.
- Users can submit questions, share ideas for new features, report issues, or just talk within the discussion board.
- Moderators of each company’s getsatisfaction web site are noted as employees so you know who you are talking to.
- They have a feature called overheard which will scour Twitter for any mention of your brand and bring back the conversations for you (the employee managing the site) to respond to.
- You can have different boards for different products and services
- Free service right now for companies. I signed up for a Ribbit account a few months ago when I was consulting for them in under 10 minutes.
- suggestionbox.com is used by companies such as zappos.com, McDonalds, and Apple.
- It’s designed more for suggestions (duh) rather than reporting errors. For example, if you are an avid fan of a particular product and you are dying for a new feature that will save you tons of time – suggestionbox.com is the place to find your company’s page and suggest it.
- Ability to follow discussions so every time you login you can see if anybody has responded to the suggestion.
- For users to suggest it is free and you can create a profile to manage the suggestions you are following.
- For companies to have their own suggestion box the price is the following: $49/month, $495/year (2 months free), or for a non-profit $49/year. 30-day free trial is available.
With any of these two services, it is a complete change in communication for your customer support team as well as how your product managers would interact with customers. Training folks on how to respond to customer complaints, suggestions, or issues in a public forum (yes all the data is public) will need to be done. Dealing with a public forum where customers can reporting issues with your products is different and the old school way was to have a password-protected support site. Times have changed in the support world and you the company need to be open with any issues and respond to them efficiently. Getsatisfaction.com or Suggestionbox.com can help you with that but it is a culture change and job responsibility change for the product manager to really engage with.
Have you tried out either services? How do you converse with your customers in a public forum? Add a comment to this blog entry.