No, this is not an advert for an online “adult” chat room but rather about my newest discovery in the internetubes two-point-zero. I discovered Get Satisfaction (GS from now on) from a PMOG mission and I immediately thought that this is a very useful tool, especially for all these places where they have message boards as the end-all of support.
The thing is, a forum is a wonderful tool but its main function is to handle discussions, instead of the whole range of features user support requires. For example, I always disliked the way most fora handled suggestion requests as I could never tell when and if my suggestion was liked, by how many people, if any developers saw it, if they liked it, worked on it etc, unless people commented or unless I started a vote.
However with the usual laziness of the internet, having to write something is generally not done very often, especially if that entails registering to yet another forum and having to say something more than “+1” or “I agree”.
Which is why I love the fact that in GS I can use the same account to report problems, ask questions and propose ideas. I can track all my conversations from the same central point and, this is this feature that I really love, you can “vote up” a topic that interests you, which gives the company behind the product a better understanding of how many people have the same issue or want the same feature.
I’ve already opened companies and products for stuff I use and I cannot find a support channel for, or that support channel is too limited (like a very simple forum). People representing those companies can at any time join and take over the channel which will give them some additional control like add new keywords to Overheard, another feature that I start to like a lot.
By subscribing to the Overheard stream of the products I like, I can now sit back and just wait until my feed reader notifies me that someone has mentioned the product name on twitter. If that twit is a question or a problem, I can jump in and provide some help if possible.
Oh, did I mention that GS has some great RSS feeds to subscribe to? Feed for new topics, feed for lifestream, feed for overheard etc. For someone like me who likes to get his information on a plate, it’s a gift, especially since almost all forums don’t support RSS topics.
So, yeah, here’s where I’ve been wasting my time lately. But of course it hasn’t been totally a waste as through GS main page (where anything new passes) I’ve managed to discover some quite cool products to try out. Specifically I’ve discovered Intense Debate which I’ve already liked enough to add to all three of my Blogs.
And before I forget, it’s a cool feature that you can check how many problems a product has at any point by visiting the GS page. Once they implement a solid feature to see how many of them have been solved as well, it would be a great way to tell how problematic a product is.
And finally, the main reason why I like it so much is because I finally have a place to vomit out my ideas for product improvements which otherwise get lost in the void 🙂