Starting today, companies on the Get Satisfaction support network can respond directly to posts in the public Twitter stream, and incorporate those conversations into their own Web sites. (Disclosure note: I have a relationship with Get Satisfaction.) Some of Twitter's recent buzz has been on how companies are looking for customer buzz through the service, typically by using Tweetscan to find company mentions. Get Satisfaction takes this to the next level by bridging the public Twitter stream into Get Satisfaction's support network.
The new service ("Overheard") enables companies (or helpful friends) to convert any given tweet into a standing thread - it's hard to share reset or return instructions in 140 characters, and Twitter isn't intended for a detailed discussion - and letting the twitter poster know with a return tweet that someone wants to help. Mashable spells it out nicely:
"I really like this move from Get Satisfaction. Twitter (when it’s up) has proven to be especially efficient at uncovering trouble spots and potential feature ideas for a multitude of companies. Meanwhile, Get Satisfaction has emerged as a discussion hub for customer service issues that traditional customer service isn’t addressing. Combining the two will make Get Satisfaction a much more powerful tool, and give the corporate types that want a convenient all-in-one interface something to chew on." - Adam OstrowThe less-sexy, but ultimately more functional, part of the company's launch this week is the introduction of Help Center, an open source help application (raw source here) that can be used to integrate Get Satisfaction's support network into the company's own Web site. Yahoo!/MyBlogLog is one of the early adopters:
"We try to reach our customers wherever they are. Our bloggers speak to us through their own blogs, Twitter, and many other channels. We want to bring all of these conversations into MyBlogLog so that all members can benefit from the discussion. We're excited not only to respond to our customers in a uniform and focused manner, but also to connect via the channels that our customers are already using." – Ian KennedyThe Twitter/Overheard functionality is slick because it's acknowledging a manual process - I know plenty of startups, PR folks, and customer reps that are trying to get a handle on Twitter by chasing customers down with Tweetscan, cut/paste, link following, and emails. Overheard is a no-brainer to use. What's more intriguing long-term is to see how companies respond to the Help Center - though not being touted as such, it's one of the first few dedicated, public-facing applications for Enterprise 2.0. And yes, that means all of the company's overheard tweets can come along too if they like. Less sexy is fine with me.