Crowdsourcing Customer Service

Get Satisfaction's site lets users interact withand helpmultiple companies

Method Products has a problem its competition would envy. The 100-person company asked its customers to help spread the word about its household cleaning products. Now those customers—Method calls them "advocates"—call and send in handwritten letters, homemade crafts projects, and lots of e-mail, more than 2,000 per month. To help ease the strain on the customer support team (two full-timers and a handful of contractors), Method last year added a knowledge base of frequently asked questions to its Web site that includes everything from "Why don't you list ingredients on your bottles?" to "Method's co-founders are cute. Are they single?" Gunther Lie, Method's director of interactive marketing, says that has helped add some rigor to what was formerly a "loosey-goosey" process. But how to deal with the huge volume of indirect communication that abounds on the Web—on blogs, message boards, and social networks—is something Lie admits he's still trying to figure out.

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