FixYa Upgrades Its Q&A Service For Product Issues With Gamification And Some Realtime Data-Sharing

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We first covered FixYa, the Q&A site for products, back in 2007, after the startup demoed at the TechCrunch40 DemoPit. Over the course of the next year, FixYa went on to raise $8 million in two rounds from Mayfield Fund and Pitango Venture Capital, with Chamath Palihapitiya joining the board of directors.

It’s been a few years since we’ve tapped into the startup’s progress, but Founder & CEO Yaniv Bensadon told us that the company is now seeing 20 million unique visitors a month, with 650K users having answered questions from the 10 million product problems and solutions currently live on the site. And, since 2009, the company has been cash-flow positive.

As the focus for FixYa has been on growth, on creating genuine, user-generated content that isn’t mashed, collected, or aggregated, on leveraging first users and building a network effect. Bensadon says that SEO was a significant driver for early traffic, as users with specific product problems looking for quick answers to lens issues on their Asus v90 would pop over to Google search to test the Web for answers, and FixYas results would often appear towards the top.

But, over the last six months, FixYa has turned its focus from scaling and growth to providing a user experience that is more appealing, that allows users to take advantage of the wealth of data the startups has collected over the last few years on products.

Like many other consumer web startups, FixYa has turned to widgets and game-ification to make this happen, and is today officially announcing v3.0 of their product. The new FixYa offers a more integrated backend gamified experience for experts who answer product questions, as well as a product engagement barometer, which allows end users to gauge the popularity of specific questions and discussion topics.

Gamification for gamification’s sake is one thing, but FixYa’s integration of badges, levels and rewards to their experts’ dashboards is intended to make experts feel more engaged with the community, as well as to their peers. To this end, the startup has introduced an escalated question flow, based on three levels of expertise they’ve created for their experts.

Their three levels of expertise, the CEO says, have been previously based on that legacy call center approach to customer service. For example, say you call AT&T and can’t get an answer from the first customer service rep you speak to, so you ask to speak to a supervisor. If you can’t get an answer from the supervisor, then you ask to speak to the manager — and so on.

This has worked fairly well for FixYa so far, but as the startup’s mission is to get your consumer electronics questions answered within 24-hours, they’ve added new incentives, and a new workflow. To divvy up the work, FixYa is now posing basic product questions to their newest experts.

Those questions that cannot be answered by the newest members are then passed on (after three hours) to the next level of more seasoned experts. If that question goes unanswered yet again, the question passes to the highest rung of the ladder, those esteemed super experts. If none of them can answer your question, you need to consult an oracle. (Just kidding.)

FixYa is hoping that this new question flow will enhance the promptness and accurateness of the site’s answers and give experts incentive to continue coming back and providing spot-on customer support. The more correct answers they give, the more badges and rewards they receive, and the higher they go. In the meantime, the consumers benefit. (Or at least that’s the hope.)

The site is also officially introducing the Fix-O-Meter, which has been live for about a week now, that is intended to leverage FixYa’s dataset to provide a realtime gauge of product issues, how many people have viewed the product, asked questions, and how many found “helpful solutions” to their problems. Going forward, every product page will get a meter detailing these data points, and Bensadon says that he hopes this barometer will become the equivalent of a consumer report snapshot.

On top of that, FixYa will also be rolling out mobile apps over the coming months to let users get access to solutions for over 2 million products while they’re on the go. Q&A sites can be really hit-or-miss, but with gamification and a new barometer for consumer product issues, the FixYa experience stands to get a lot better. Customer service for consumer electronics has not been “fixed”, by any means, but the site seems to be finding its legs aggregating all of the questions and solutions for popular products out there, and it’s new face could go along way towards making the customer experience enjoyable.

Check it out and let us know what you think.