Secrecy in startups? That’s so 1999. In that spirit, and since you’re here and that means you’re at least a tiny bit curious, let me tell you what we’re up to with Satisfaction.
Satisfaction is people-powered customer service for absolutely everything. We’re building the start page for customer service online, powered by the people that actually use the stuff: the customers.
That’s everything, folks — 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.
And it’s not just about getting help — you can give help, too. This thing is people-powered, after all. Fortunately for us, the world is a big place, and everybody has expertise in something. Especially about the stuff they use day in and day out — the products they love and identify with, the ones they hate but are held captive by, and everything in between.
Nobody said we don’t think big around here!
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? We’re taking the passion we see customers demonstrating on existing company-oriented sites like Mini2 and Tivo Community, two stellar examples, and the interactions they have with the companies they care about in those spaces, and bringing 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 GetSatisfaction.com) 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 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. We’re working pretty much nonstop to get the first version of this out the door, and when we do you’ll be the first to know. We plan to get our first release out really soon, because while it will take us some time to ramp up to fulfill the vision we have for Satisfaction, we’re really enjoying the ride and can’t wait until you can hop in and ride along with us.
We’re also really interested to hear what you think about all this, so if you’ve got something to say, please shout out in the comments!