Journal / Feedback and support on the web, 2009 style

I love the web. I love that it makes it easier to stay in touch and communicate, meet like-minded people, buy goods not readily available in local shops, and most of all create anything you want. Yet a few years ago, as many of these reasons were obvious, I hadn’t considered that something which took place yesterday would be possible.

On Saturday, I signed up for Songkick, a potentially useful service for a someone who loves going to gigs. It imports your Last.fm data, and tells you when gigs are on in the towns you select by artists which you listen to. Smart. On the signup page, the default location is London, UK, which you can change. I changed the location to Edinburgh, UK and filled out the rest of the form. Once signed up, I logged in to the site, imported my Last.fm data and was presented with gigs for artists I liked, but in London. I had to manually change the location to Edinburgh. Not a massive problem, but it struck me as an unnecessary  to ask for my location at signup, then disregard it later. I posted on Twitter:

if i give you my location at signup,you probly shouldn’t give me events for the default (wrong) location after signup. looking at you songkick

Perhaps not my finest hour. I thought nothing more about it until yesterday, when I received an @reply on Twitter from Get Satisfaction:

@nonimage EmilyS, an employee of Songkick, just replied to your tweet on GetSatisfaction.com: http://gsfn.us/t/ad69

Wondering what was going on, I followed the link, to find that a new topic had been created in Songkick’s Get Satisfaction area with my tweet in it. A Songkick Official Rep, EmilyS, had replied to my rather off-the-cuff tweet with thanks for alerting Songkick to the problem, and asking for more information so they could look into it!

As it turns out, Get Satisfaction allows companies to create ‘Overheard’ sections for their products, as they explain:

Overheard lists out the most recent Twitter posts (“tweets”) related to this company. Anyone, employee or customer, can convert a tweet into a Get Satisfaction conversation. Overheard notifies the original Twitter poster of the discussion started in response to their issue.

It would appear that Songkick monitor their Overheard section, and EmilyS saw my tweet and responded, which creates a topic and sends the user a reply on Twitter to let them know. Songkick didn’t have to respond – my tweet was hardly an official support request – and by doing so they flagged a potential problem with their product in public for all to see. Yet this probably hasn’t caused any negative effects, and in my case has actually caused a positive effect.

By being transparent about the problem and offering to help fix it, Songkick have created goodwill. Get Satisfaction certainly have their detractors, and perhaps partly with good reason, but they are enabling companies to open up about their products and effectively help users fix problems and request features, while creating a huge knowledge base. The addition of helping companies track conversations about their products improves the service further. It also shows that in many ways Twitter has become a much more important communication tool than any other. Nowadays I see questions on Twitter every day from the people I follow, from restaurant recommendations to Javascript help, and I do it myself on a regular basis. And 9 times out of ten, I receive at least one helpful reply within half an hour.

All this has left me in awe of the web again, at the possibilities and applications for the web that we haven’t yet grasped. And in the meantime it is helping companies help their users and themselves in increasingly clever ways.

2 responses so far

  1. Joe Doyle

    28th Jul, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    What a smart use of web. Kudos to the people who created a space for conversations to get proper customer satisfaction.

  2. Jessie

    29th Jul, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    That is impressive response. By way of explanation, I came to your page because I have a Google Alert set up for Songkick, as I am interested in their service, and today’s digest features your post :) I’ve found the Songkick people to be very helpful and willing to listen to and act on suggestions for improvements.

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