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Crowdsourced customer service

Advertising & Marketing

Earlier this month we wrote about RedesignMe, a Dutch site that offers a place for consumers to share complaints, offer suggestions and try their hand at redesigning the products that are part of their lives. San Francisco-based Satisfaction, which just recently entered beta, takes the concept one better by giving the marketers behind those products a chance to be explicitly involved. Working on a notion it calls “people-powered customer service,” Satisfaction lets consumers participate in conversations about customer service issues specific to particular companies or products. A recent post in the Twitter section, for example, describes a problem one consumer had getting a Twitter application to update in Facebook. In the Timbuk2 section, another contributor asks for advice about laptop messenger bags. Participants in the conversations can include both customers and company employees (clearly labelled as such), and the posts ranked as most useful get propelled to the top of the list. Discussions are controlled by the community, free of impersonal contact forms or company censorship. Marketers who choose to join in, meanwhile, are freed from repetitive support tasks and able to engage their customers in a more collaborative way. The service is currently free for those on both sides of the equation. “Customer service is the new marketing,” the people behind Satisfaction like to say. And it’s true: customers who are motivated enough to spend time talking about you are almost certainly worth getting to know—if you don’t interact with them, your competitors will. Next, how about bringing this model down to the local or niche level, focusing on regional offerings or products in a particular category?



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