Get Satisfaction is an online community that provides a place for consumers to come together and share information, tips and advice about companies, products and services. They can comment, rant, rave, ask and answer questions, suggest ideas and even have conversations with employees of companies that are sufficiently web 2.0-savvy to recognize the benefits of this new way of interacting with the people who, ultimately, pay their salaries. So this isn’t only a consumer community. Companies, too, are encouraged to join the conversations.
Here is just a sample of questions and comments you might find on Get Satisfaction:
What happened to my chai tea latte’s flavor? (Starbucks. Note the use of the personal possessive pronoun “my”!)
Why are you treating loyal Platinum members like dirt? (i.e. Me) (American Express)
Where do all the unsold cakes go? (Whole Foods Market)
Your strawberry, banana orange juice is orgasmic. It is the best orange juice I have ever tasted. Why is it so hard to find? (Tropicana)
It would be great if Amazon could make an iPhone app that would let you buy music from the Amazon MP3 Store.
You begin your journey on Get Satisfaction by entering the product or company name into a search box. That search takes you to the applicable Get Satisfaction “community” where you can immediately see if company employees are participating. For me, that alone earns a tremendous amount of good will. (And makes the companies that don’t get involved look pretty lame.)
But I find one of the most inspiring things on Get Satisfaction is their Company-Customer Pact. Fundamentally, it’s a set of guidelines for how companies and customers can best engage with each other for the mutual benefit of both. It reflects the new realities of a web 2.0-interconnected world that rewards transparency and the guts to really listen and respond to customers online, in a dialogue that is visible to all. What’s also pretty cool is that the pact doesn’t place the whole burden of the relationship exclusively on the shoulders of the marketer. Consumers also need to listen and be open to the point-of-view of the company.
It’s an excellent code of behavior for what I have called the concept of brands not marketing to, but marketing with, their consumers in a refreshingly human, open and social web 2.0 world.