UPDATE 2/24/10: We’ve decided to make no changes to existing free accounts. Their features will remain as they are. Only new accounts will be affected. Full details here.
This is a big month for us. We’re getting ready to announce some exciting updates to the Get Satisfaction service that will make it more accessible to more businesses than ever before. The team has put a lot of care into these upcoming changes, so over the course of the next weeks I’m going to share our thought process for what’s ahead for Get Satisfaction.
January marked the three year anniversary since we started working on the very first prototype for Get Satisfaction. What’s remarkable is how close to our original concept we are today, despite a sometimes windy road.
Take a look at the original concept outline for the business, dated January 20, 2007. It looks eerily similar to where our business is today.
As you can see, our “new model for customer service” initially hinged on three (then controversial) assumptions:
- Mainstream customers are talking to each other publicly on the social Web
- Companies see the financial benefit of open engagement with customers
- Small companies will have (and want) tools previously only available for enterprises
Three years later and these ideas have indeed transformed the business world. Twitter and Facebook are irreplaceable daily experiences for hundreds of millions of people, and along with search are now communication channels that no business can ignore. And we’ve seen an explosion of web tools for small businesses that are smart and affordable.
The bottom line is that we’ve learned a lot since putting together our fuzzy-on-the-details product concept way back when. We’ve watched as Get Satisfaction communities have sprung up for over thirty thousand companies, many of which have given us invaluable feedback. We’ve been inspired by dozens of other innovative Web apps that have found ways to offer their services in a way that made sense to companies small and large. And we’ve seen the emergence of a truly thriving social web that didn’t exist three years ago. It’s all turned out more exciting than we could have hoped.
So now, the teaser: Next week we’ll be unveiling a new set of pricing and plans that gives our customers a lot more for a lot less. Some of the features that have been out of reach to our small business customers will now be incredibly affordable. We’ll be providing a limited version of our moderation tools at our entry level price point ($19). And our new pricing allows companies to grow their accounts smoothly along with their communities.
We will, of course, continue to provide free communities. These are designed as customer-to-customer support communities that anyone can kickstart, company or consumer, and while they may not be company-moderated, they do provide employee badges so that the community always knows who’s who. Going forward, our free plans will no longer provide basic moderator tools such as the ability to set official responses and topic status. These will be available as part of our entry-level package and up.
We’re confident the new plans will be a great fit for businesses of all sizes looking to cultivate customer communities, but we know that the changes to the free plan, however minor, will be inconvenient to some. We apologize in advance. If you’re getting real business value out of our service we hope you’ll consider signing up for a free trial of one of the new plans when they’re launched, and otherwise we invite you to continue on with your free community.
And as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these changes. Feel free to join in the conversation within our community.