First off, we have some exciting news about the new ChaCha properties. The ChaCha iOS App has a brand new look and is live in the Apple Store, gaining popularity in the Reference category. The Mobile Web is up for all OS users trying to access ChaCha, regardless of the mobile device. Android, Windows, and other mobile Users can now benefit from ChaCha’s ability to deliver amazing Answers to Questions. ChaCha.com has also been redesigned, providing a better experience to Users – allowing them to better ask Questions and navigate all of the great ChaCha content. The new Web design and functionality promotes interaction with Q&A between Users and Guides. With these releases in place, our focus as a company has shifted to a social experience, allowing Users to share the amazing Answers they receive with their friends and family. This is something they are unable to do using SMS and Voice.
With the company focus moving towards bringing public visibility and interaction to Questions that need Answers, and SMS/Voice functionality becoming less popular with the masses and advertisers, we will be deprecating the SMS and Voice platforms. We have decided to follow our user base and the market to bring Q&A into the social arena.
Our goal is to move Users from the SMS/Voice Platforms to our new iOS Mobile App, Mobile Web App, and Website using a system of interstitial messages over the next few weeks. This will effectively transfer traffic from the Universe to the Apollo interface, where our Guides will be able to answer User Questions from the Mobile App, Mobile Web, and Web. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to signup to be a ChaCha Guide Answerer in Apollo. Traffic to SMS and Voice will stop populating in the Universe on Tuesday, December 3rd around 4pm EST. (While the Universe will no longer be accessible, the Underground, SearchU, forum, feedback, etc. will all remain up and running.)
The changes also allow us to focus on bringing value to new 311 opportunities for Guides. These programs, where ChaCha answers questions from the public on behalf of government or private sector organizations, are a chance for top guides to earn more and dive deep in certain topics. Currently we are staffing a 311 program for a federal government agency; more details will be shared in coming weeks.
If you have yet to receive an invitation to join Apollo as a Guide Answerer, please click here and let us know if you are interested. The Guide Team will be spending the next few days transferring accounts from the Universe to the Apollo interface so you can get in, get familiar, and begin answering questions from our new Users. You can take the first step and learn more about the Apollo interface and the Guide Answerer role by visiting SearchU and searching for ‘Apollo.’
How the New World Benefits Guides: With multiple roles, our Guides were left with varying difficulties when answering Questions. We have eliminated this resistance by basically combining all roles and functions into a single role with quality metrics that are easy to understand. (Guides who have been selected to participate in 311 Affiliate programs will do this work under the separate “Affiliate” role.)
With an improved Topic system, the SMM/SML functionality is designed to work at both the top and bottom level granularities. We’ve cleaned the PAQ database to remove many duplicate and out of date responses, so you have a system that is faster and more responsive. A big request from Guides in the past was to continue a conversation with Users after clarifying a Question. We have solved this by allowing the Customer to come back to you and not another Guide with a clarification to their question.
How the New World Benefits our Users: The SMS, Voice, and Web platforms left Users with a less-than-perfect experience, being they did not have a single voice across platforms. The new system allows Users to keep their Q&A history between the Mobile App, Mobile Web, and Website, letting them interact with ChaCha wherever they are and whatever device they are using. The new flow provides Users with a more visual experience, eliminating basic text-based responses.
We understand some of the Guide concerns with moving to an open platform, and while we initially began the Guide Answerer role with the idea of not allowing anonymity for Users, we understand the desire to keep your personal information protected. If you are concerned with anonymity on the new Mobile App, please send us feedback under Change Guide Role and simply let us know. We will work with you to adjust.
Our Guides continue to be the backbone of our service, answering millions of Questions for our Users and we look forward to your participation doing the same as a ChaCha Guide Answerer. Please continue to provide great answers to our SMS/Voice Users so we can help transition them to the new process. We know you must have a lot of questions and we are here to answer them. Please feel free to submit your questions through feedback (Please use the Suggestions/Feature Request Issuetype) to directly reach a member of ChaCha Guide Care or join in on the discussion in the ChaCha Forum.