• Social Studies Blog. How to succeed in social business.
  • About Lane Becker


    1. Yes. Yes I want it. Satisfaction that is.

    2. looks like i ~can~ get satisfaction!

      thanks you guys!

    3. power to the peeps! love the concept love our passion even more!

    4. A comparison to Fixya (http://www.fixya.com), the other site/company of which I’m aware is doing something similar, would be a great next post.

    5. ok, double-posting ’cause i go so excited i impulse-posted on lane’s twitter.

      one comment i have is that your platform should easily enable integration with company web sites, and ideally, smart companies will develop a formal relationship with you.

      i’m definitely one of those googlers digging typing complex queries into google trying to find an answer for something. but…

      1. lots of people just go to the company web site for help. e.g. my wife needed to figure out how to get her data off her old palm 7 onto a new palm. she went to the palm web site, got nothing, and then guess who went to google? me! your average consumer doesn’t necessarily have the skills to sleuth around google for complex help.

      2. even if someone does google, they won’t necessarily find satisfaction, and i mean that literally. you’ll either need to buy a lot of google ads, flush money down seo holes, or develop real, old fashioned google poularity.

      i want you to succeed so you can take me to lunch buy me some of these.

      then, give some of your noveau-wealth to people who really need it.

    6. @BillSaysThis: We hope our app will speak for itself on the difference between it and other approaches.

    7. I think this sounds like a fabulous idea!

    8. So, how do I get my beta invite?

    9. It sounds like a great idea, Lane. How do you ensure that queries and solutions are tagged well to facilitate easy searches and prevent multiple posts on the same topic/product?
      I see it growing into a huge beast and I’m sure you will have to categorize products/services/companies to make it a manageable resource. I’m sure you’re already thinking of all this.
      Sign me up.

    10. Hey, Mark! We’re definitely working on easy searching and the issue of duplicate posts — have some pretty interesting stuff planned in that area, actually, since we see those as basically the same thing. As for the challenge of categorization, we’re into the whole “messy is better than better” approach that the Web does so well, and so while we’ve thought through a number of different scenarios around how to deal with it, we’re waiting to see how it actually plays out in our own system before we go and try and “solve” it.

    11. That’s funny, I’d never heard of Fixya until yesterday when that commenter above mentioned it. Today I got a spam from Fixya, saying how wonderful my site is and would I mind posting about them? I know the Satisfaction team would never stoop so low as to spam!

    12. Iane:

      How can I reach you directly? Funny that you guys should be talking about social media and I cannot figure out how to correspond directly from this site. I’d like to interview the team working on this project for my upcoming post at Fast Company Expert blogs on customer conversations.

    13. @Valerie: You’re right, we really should get some contact info up on this site! In any case, you can reach us at our first names @ getsatisfaction.com

    14. I’d be interested to know whether (or how) you will differentiate between customer help and customer service. To elaborate a bit…

      For me, customer “service” is about resolving timely issues for individual customers (think travel), while “help” is about resolving questions that apply to a broad audience and have a longer life span (think product support).

      Will Satisfaction address both? It’s easy for me to imagine “people-powered” help, but I have a hard time imagining people-powered service.

    15. @shawn — it’s mostly a semantic issue, but you can switch those two definitions almost entirely. from our perspective, service is about supporting people over the long-term, whereas help, a much narrower category, is about resolving timely issues. read that way, service is entirely what we’re about, and enlisting fellow customers (along with companies) in that effort is how we plan to do it.

    16. @Shawn: Adding to what Lane said, we believe that there’s a big shift in how value is created around products and services. Not long ago people assumed that most if not all value was created inside companies, and we “consumers” were there to pay to receive such value. Today, however, the smartest companies recognize that much of the value they can deliver is paradoxically created *outside* their businesses, whether it is Google leveraging expert links training their algorithm, or Lego (and Dell as you previously pointed out) using its users to define the next generation of its products, or Tivo quietly encouraging its customers to train each other on those extra cool hacks they can’t mention for fear of alienating partners.

      As we see it, great customer service–even the hand-holding, time-is-of-the-essence type–is increasingly more likely to come from passionate customers than it is from inside the corporate monolith alone.

    17. I think Shawn does make a good point. Right now I’m trying to get an appointment to fix my Mini’s air conditioner. I already know the problem, and all I really need is to get the right person at Mini of San Francisco on the phone. (Unfortunately they don’t answer or return phone calls.)

      I think all another customer could do at this point is help me deal with Mini’s unsatisfactory service. They might tell me that I have to go in and look Jeffrey Adams, the head of Mini SF, in the eye and refuse to leave until I have an appointment scheduled. (Can you tell I’m pissed at Mini right now?)

    18. Of course, that assumes that going in to Mini is the best way to fix your Mini’s air conditioner. You may be best served by allowing one of the independent mechanics in the City.

      But you’re right, there are many customer service issues best handled by the manufacturer (or service provider) itself. Our point is that many things that were once in that category, but no longer are.

    19. Lane, with my comment, I wasn’t concerned with labels (help vs. service) as such. It was just a way I invented at that moment to distinguish between two things I often need from companies.

      If I’m having trouble using, say, my digital camera or Quicken, I can easily imagine what “people-powered” support might look like. It already exists in the form of knowledge bases, forums, etc. Centralizing this doesn’t change the paradigm I see in my head. It just makes it easier and more useful.

      On the other hand, if I need to change my United Airlines flights to D.C. or get Comcast to come to my house and replace my cable box, I don’t see how people-power can help with my immediate issue – beyond providing some useful information (like, say, how to bypass the phone tree).

      I’m not saying people power can’t do more. I’m just failing to imagine what it might look like.

      Thor, no question that the balance of power has shifted, and the structure we call a “company” is really a community of rich and dynamic relationships.

      I’m excited to see what you’re cooking up.

    20. Centralizing this doesn’t change the paradigm I see in my head. It just makes it easier and more useful.

      We’ll start there.

    21. Hey guys. I just stumbled across this: http://www.podtech.net/home/3091/start-up-satisfaction-aims-for-people-powered-customer-service

      Very cool. Looking forward to seeing it in action.

    22. Having paid retail for a product, I expect the company to supply support and answer questions. If they designed better products, there wouldn’t be so many problems!

      “Satisfaction” is increasing company profits by putting the burden on customers and users. If I’m doing customer support for Dell, Adobe, or GE, then let them pay me for my time.

    23. @Gus: Often it’s the best products that generate the most vibrant customer communities. And if users are more insightful and informed about the products than people within companies why would you object to them helping you? Perhaps it’s wrong-headed of us to expect companies to be the support line of first resort–especially since most of them are so terrible at it.

      Satisfaction’s benefit to companies is only possible when customers themselves are directly benefiting. And who doesn’t love a win-win scenario like that?

    24. Isn’t this just a glorified web 2.0 forum model with a fancy slogan?

    25. @Anon: Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. You could probably make a case that Flickr is just a forum attached to photos, WordPress is just a forum attached to articles, MySpace is just forums attached to people. But you wouldn’t really be explaining what they are in any meaningful way.

    26. Fantastic. Congratulations.

      Just a note. My satisfaction with companies goes well beyond consumer relationships. I wonder if your long-term vision foresees a platform for discussing corporate accountability issues, such as how well they serve the communities where they are based and steps that they are taking to reduce their carbon footprints.

    27. I don’t imagine companies will (1) want to put customer service in the hands of its customers and (2) want to leave control of customer service with a third-party entity.


    28. @Bob: The nice thing about the Internet is customers don’t need a company’s permission to help out other customers. The balance of power around customer service is increasingly moving outside of company control, whether they like it or not. Given that inexorable trend, our bet is that the smart companies will want new tools to harness it.

      And as for the supposed unwillingness of companies to rely on “third-party entities”, there are millions of Indian call-center operatives (working for third-party service firms) who prove otherwise.

      Further reading: Failure of imagination

    29. Your #1 challenge will be to, as you state it, “get real business value out of the exchange.” Great concept, and best of luck!

    30. OK. So this site seems to be a novel approach to customer satisfaction. But what if a company decides to ignore this site . . . will it become so useless because no one is doing anything about what is brought up? Where is the power in a website that is powered by customers who are largely ignored?

    31. Customer satisfaction is mostly depending on, in which business you are. Internet businesses will be more focused on the product quality. However, if you deliver business-to-business, the service will be more important most of the times. customer satisfaction will therefore always be in the hand of the company itself, I believe.

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