Talk to Your Customers With Bearhug

Sites like Yelp and Get Satisfaction have empowered consumers in recent years, with companies being forced to wrangle their way into these consumer-driven, organic customer service communities. But that’s about to change: Enter Bearhug, a new “customer engagement platform” that provides businesses with something better than a basic support ticket customer feedback system; an app that enables them to hear what customers are experiencing and saying and actually do something about it.

Bearhug consists of four main modules:

Pulse: This module gives your customers and your team real-time status information about your product or service. You can create “pulse updates” and sync them to your company Twitter account to keep everyone updated on issues, downtime, anything that affects their immediate satisfaction. Customers can subscribe to the updates via SMS — for quick notifications if time is of the essence — or via email or Twitter.

Answers: This module is where your consumer community can ask a question and then get an answer from both other members of the community who use your product or service and from your company. Using this module, you can moderate the questions and pick the community answer that best responds to the issue. You can also craft a company response. People can then access the best of both worlds in terms of information. This section builds a robust and interactive live FAQ for your customers.

First Rate: Customers post reviews — both good and bad — all over the web. Customers can post their reviews through this module and you can respond to feedback immediately, provide advice, moderate, publish and syndicate the reviews you want to feature.

Overheard: This module is Bearhug’s listening post. At presstime, it could pull in Twitter mentions of your company, product or service with more services pending including Yelp, Facebook, Flickr (s yhoo) and YouTube (s goog). Through Overheard, you can immediately reply to mentions of your company or product on the web.

The Bearhug Dashboard gives you a global view and statistics of the activity about your company. You can also access metrics such as your company’s average response time, average rating and customer satisfaction. When you set up Bearhug, you can change the header text, language and messaging to display not only your branding but your brand personality. You can have Bearhug for each product you offer and turn modules on and off depending on your needs.

There’s also a sidebar widget to place a Bearhug support button on your web site.

Bearhug helps you embrace the organic feedback your customers are providing all over the web, while also bringing some management and metrics to the mix.

Bearhug’s currently in closed beta. Use this code to try it: webworkerdaily

What are you doing to reach out to and manage your customer community?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise