As the new CEO of Get Satisfaction, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and share why I’m thrilled to lead this company (for a deeper conversation, join me in a Fireside Chat later this month). Over the years I have been a close follower of Get Satisfaction and deeply admired the unique approach that the company has pursued since its inception.
Soon after it was founded in 2007, Get Satisfaction’s co-founder, Thor Muller, penned a seminal blog post highlighting the importance of providing an exceptional post-sales experience to turn customers into evangelists whose enthusiasm you can amplify using the Internet. Our previous CEO (and now Executive Chairman) Wendy Lea underscored the significance of customer service as part of a larger customer engagement strategy. The rise of the social web has indeed created a fundamental shift in how businesses of all sizes engage with their customers. And fortunately for Get Satisfaction, online customer communities are fast becoming a ‘must have’ platform for creating a strong, customer-friendly experience.
But you may ask — “Wasn’t that the promise of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software?”
I have been a long time practitioner of CRM, helping to create the largest industry CRM product line at Siebel Systems in the early 2000’s. So I do not underestimate the operational benefits of CRM software. However, I have often wondered what happened to the “relationship” part of CRM. The reality is that delivering exceptional customer service on a consistent basis is hard. In a world where customer service representatives (CSRs) are measured more often on average call handling times than customer happiness, they are motivated to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible. The traditional model of 1:1 interactions makes it difficult to capture and share the best solutions to customer problems.
I would question that, if the customer service function were invented in the Internet age, would we start with a help desk?
Of course not — Get Satisfaction has already shown that there is a superior way. Forward-looking companies realize that customer service is the front line of the brand experience. They are using online communities to connect with their customers to capture and leverage their passion, knowledge, and goodwill. They have shown that, when done correctly, customer communities can become the ‘first stop’ for answering questions, sharing solutions, promoting ideas and sending praise. And over time, help desks can be relegated to doing what they do best – solving the ‘long tail’ of customer specific questions.
But doing customer communities well is not easy either. My time at LinkedIn developing consumer products taught me that getting users to actively engage in a community starts with solving real-life customer problems, not offering gimmicks. It means designing software that makes it easy for customers to interact with the company’s online community wherever and however they choose. It depends on the availability of high-quality user-generated content and well-designed user interfaces. And, of course as Get Satisfaction has shown, it requires putting customers at the heart of community.
And that is why I am excited to be leading Get Satisfaction. I am looking forward to building on our great foundation and momentum. In 2013, we released our new community platform, signed key customers including Chamberlain, Chevron, Extreme Networks, General Electric, Ring Central, and SugarCRM, launched hundreds of new customer communities, increased our bookings and continued to assemble a world-class leadership team. This was made possible in large part due to Wendy Lea. Under Wendy’s leadership, Get Satisfaction has created a well-known brand and a reputation for innovation and thought leadership. For those who know Wendy, she is an incredibly passionate, inspiring, and visionary person. I am grateful to her for her mentorship and friendship over the last year. And now as she assumes the role of Executive Chairman, I am delighted that she will continue to play an active role in helping me write the next chapter of Get Satisfaction. Specifically Wendy will take an active role in building customer relationships, forging partnerships, and acting as a key evangelist for the company.
My vision is for Get Satisfaction to be the world’s largest and most engaging customer conversation platform. Under my leadership, Get Satisfaction will remain focused on delivering the industry’s most engaging community platform for connecting customers and companies online. Through rapid iteration and execution, we will innovate faster to deliver greater value to customers and companies. We will continue to make it easier for customers to get answers to their questions and problems, be more knowledgeable about the products and services they care about, and have a meaningful voice in the companies that provide them. We will remain focused ensuring that our solutions are easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy. We will make Get Satisfaction the place to work for top talent. Finally we will remain steadfast in our value as a company that is open, transparent, trustworthy, and easy to work with.
There will be lots of great new ideas and innovative product experiences coming out of Get Satisfaction. I have the support of a fabulous team, and an amazing Get Satisfaction community. I also want to hear from you. Please join me in a Fireside Chat webcast on Thursday, February 27th to ask me your questions, share your thoughts, and allow us to get to know one another better. Thank you for joining me on this new leg of our journey.