|By Blake Landau
An Initial Look at Get Satisfaction
If social CRM is about the customer's control of the conversation, then Get Satisfaction may be the customer service tool that brings brands to the customer conversation. Just crowned the CRM Idol winner, Get Satisfaction is a customer service application that gives customers an online venue for their comments, questions or feedback—and empowers companies to join the conversations with their customers.
Founded in 2007, the company has acquired $20.9 million in venture funding and employs about 45 staff. The company's customer-service platform allows brands to create online communities—forums where their customers can post questions, comments, and complaints about the company that the community can read, and respond to. The brand can respond to posts directly, customers can respond to each other, and members of the community can rate the responses based on how helpful they are.
The customer service application is built on a multi-tenant hosting architecture using Ruby on Rails and hosted on Amazon EC2. Helpful customer service features include the ability to sort by type of topic, title of topic, sentiment, product/service and keywords assigned by the moderator. The forums mature to become rich knowledge base solutions for customers and the brand alike. Customers can proactively find what they are looking for from peers they trust 24 by 7. During tough economic periods the forums also take some of the burden off customer support. For those who are more mobile, Get Satisfaction is accessible through mobile devices.
Get Satisfaction also enables companies to monitor mentions of their brand on Twitter. The vendor recently upgraded its integration with Facebook by making it possible for administrators and customer service agents to take data from a wall and channel it into Salesforce.com to be assigned as a case. Get Satisfaction's recent deal with Salesforce.com to become a reseller allows them to offer a bundled CRM suite with community management and workflow—all as a single solution. GetSatisfaction also offers integration with Assistly and Zendesk.
What separates Get Satisfaction from most competitors is the fact that all interactions happen in an open and transparent environment where content is searchable in the public domain with tools such as Google.
When reviewing vendors who make social tools that empower online customers, it's helpful to review how the vendor itself responds to customers and the social sphere. For example, how the vendor responds to criticism in social channels can say a lot about the legitimacy of the company.
In 2009 Jason Fried, founder of 37 Signals wrote a harsh review of Get Satisfaction called Get Satisfaction or Else, which included:
"Two years ago, if an organization did not voluntarily participate or endorse their Get Satisfaction customer community, the website would label the community by saying X organization is "not yet committed to an open conversation." Fried accused Get Satisfaction of being misleading and "unfair and unreasonable."
Out of the 272 blog post responses, one comment from Get Satisfaction's co-founder and CTO Thor Muller demonstrated a willingness to listen and act.
Gosh, we messed up on the wording of that badge and are changing it pronto. The wording on that badge was actually intended to explicitly state that the space was NOT OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED by the company, but that doesn't come off at all. The idea is to encourage openness, and provide a badge for companies that want to be associated with it. This was just unfortunate phrasing (one small part of an ongoing redesign effort), and doesn't reflect our values, as I think many, many people and companies who've used our service can attest.
Our whole business is based on honest, and open conversation whether they do it on our site or their own sites. All the customer communities on our site are driven by customers, not us. We even provide a free "message from the company" tool that allows a company to point users to their own preferred support channel (see http://getsatisfaction.com/newrelic for an example). Thanks for the feedback, and I'm sorry for the hassle.
Lesser companies may have lashed out in response but the reaction by Thor Muller displays a service-oriented, receptive, professional, and levelheaded response. These situations are precisely the nature and purpose for Get Satisfaction's products and services.
Get Satisfaction's customer acquisition strategy is working. The company manages over 60,000 online communities with about 2.5 million registered users. The service now greets about 12 million unique visitors per month and is adding about 106,000 new registered users each month. Just over 2,000 of the over 60,000 online communities are paying customers. Get Satisfaction has acquired 120 enterprise customers, including marquee names such as Proctor & Gamble, Microsoft and Spotify. Spotify's customer community routinely receives over 100,000 visitors per week. The traffic provides support to Spotify's 10 million registered users, and helps the Spotify team remain lean despite their exploding customer base.
The bulk of Get Satisfaction customers are B2C companies and so far the service application is largely consumed by United States companies (about 70% of customers) but that figure is expected to decline with continued growth.
The price includes a sliding scale ranging from free to $19 per month for small businesses, to $49 dollars per month or $99 dollars per month for more feature sets. Enterprise licensing is available at $6000 per month.
Online customer service application competition is intense with social leaders such as Lithium and Jive Software, a plethora of start-ups as demonstrated in the CRMidol finalists, and the traditional CRM software providers adding increased social service capabilities. However, despite the intense competitive landscape, Get Satisfaction is well managed, well funded and extremely well poised to outpace the majority of market players.
Categories: Customer Service Software
Author: Blake Landau