Wendy Lea is CEO of Get Satisfaction, a community platform that helps companies engage with their customers wherever they are online — be it on Facebook, Twitter or the web — and connects customers to one another. We recently spoke with her about the changing IT landscape and the importance of creating flexible, nimble business processes. 

What new IT demands are you getting from your clients? 

First, our clients want easy-to-use apps, and they want the apps to have an intuitive consumer feel. In other words, they want our app to be as easy to work with and intuitive as social apps such as Facebook and Twitter.

Second, they want our app to be integrated into the other assets they have, such as marketing automation software and trouble ticketing. They want to make sure that what they use of ours can hook into the other pieces they already have. They also want to make sure the data that’s pulled into their apps can be acted on by them. Part of the social web is aggregating a lot of unstructured data from our customers’ customers — what they’re saying on Facebook and so on.

The last thing is they want to be able to deploy it fast. Whatever they buy from us, they don’t want to have to spend months and millions to get others to implement it.

What good ways have you found to simplify how you provide services?

To access our service, you can go on our site and self-serve with a credit card. It’s a multi-tenant SaaS app. You can make that available through a commerce site and use a credit card to buy it. That’s really important in today’s app world. Companies want to be able to access a service freely online, they don’t want to have to put it on their servers, and they want to immediately get updates. In the old days, you’d wait, there’d be a big release, the consultants would come out to your company, and it would be a real pain in the ass. Now, with the multi-tenant architecture, you automatically get updates because it’s SaaS.

And what about simplifying the business processes themselves?

The process has to do with our own processes online. Let’s go back to the fact that our customers — not all of them do this, but most — access and provision our apps from the site. The process has to be dead simple. It’s all guided through the app. That’s why it requires the intuitive nature of the app itself, but also the flows. Our process for accessing the provisioning app is a combination of videos and prompts so any customer can use it right then and there.

The other thing we do from a process standpoint is we have customer success teams. They’re small, because we’re a startup, but we make sure at certain junctures that our customers can get help — not via chat, but over the phone. There are multichannel success services. Customers interact with us in our community, they interact online or use GoToMeeting or some sort of conference service.

From a process standpoint, the companies who are acquiring IT services and assets have a very high expectation that they can pretty much get help any way they want to, any time they want. It’s a very different kind of world than five or six years ago. They want it easy, parsed, and multichannel. If you’re in the business of providing a community product like we have, you have to be that flexible and nimble. It makes it hard for large companies.  

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