3 Examples of Stellar Social Media Customer Service [Mashable Awards]
As part of the ongoing Mashable Awards, we’re taking a closer look at each of the nomination categories. This is “Best Social Media Customer Service,” supported by BlackBerry. Be sure to nominate your favorites and join us for the Gala in Las Vegas!
With the connectivity social networks provide, companies are engaging their communities with new tools, methods and attitudes. They’re able to gain a greater understanding of their customers while reacting to inquiries and feedback more quickly and efficiently. It’s a win for both sides.
Social media customer service has become a combination of troubleshooting, engagement and building community. Like traditional methods of customer service, some companies are better at it than others. Here are a few companies that have nailed their social media customer service:
Online retailer Zappos.com has
set the bar for social
media customer service. Its approach focuses on making authentic connections
via social networks rather than selling or promoting products. Since meeting
customer needs is the goal, Zappos staff will spend time to help a person find
an item they don’t carry — even though they’re making no money off the sale.
Still, it’s valuable in building customer appreciation and trust. CEO Tony
Hsieh recognizes that the web gives everyone a voice — including Zappos
customers — and what customers say on blogs and social networks can reach millions.
That’s why Zappos treats every interaction as an opportunity not to make a sale,
but to shed positive light on the brand. Staff are encouraged to be transparent
in their tweets, which helps make customers feel like they know them and can
be comfortable reaching out. The interaction is authentic, leaving the customer
satisfied and likely to tell others about the experience.
Pottery Barn is an interesting example of social media customer service because it shows that exceptional customer service online doesn’t always translate offline.
One customer, Jennifer Hellum, sought customer service after the glass top on her Pottery Barn table shattered in the extreme Arizona heat last summer. Calling the customer service line and the store where she bought the table didn’t get her anywhere. A few weeks later, she posted photos of the tabletop explosion on Pottery Barn’s Facebook () fan page. Within 30 minutes she had a call from a customer relations representative who worked with her to find a new tabletop and reimbursed her for it.
Though the company engages customers best via Facebook, its YouTube channel does a good job of building community online. Video () topics include how-tos for party planners, designer profiles and featured products. By giving advice about and telling the story behind products, Pottery Barn’s YouTube () channel brings customers beyond the purchase — a proactive form of customer service.
Boingo understands the essence of all that social media customer service entails: technical support, customer engagement and community building. The Wi-Fi service connects with customers in all these ways on Facebook, Twitter (), Flickr () and LinkedIn ().
On Twitter, representatives scan the web for mentions of the brand and reach out to customers with both positive and negative feedback. They’re quick to find people reporting technical issues and often offer to connect by e-mail. Kind words about the brand will often see a retweet or note of thanks in a sincere, non-corporate tone. Each of the three social media customer service representatives have their name and headshot on the @boingo profile page, adding to the transparency of their tweets.
Boingo’s Facebook Page is also a hub for responding to troubleshooting inquiries, but just like their Flickr and LinkedIn profiles, it helps to build community. While some posts are company or product updates from Boingo’s blog, representatives more often post relevant links, videos and discussion questions. Anything related to the Internet (), technology or travel seems to be fair game for the Facebook wall, showing Boingo understands the interests of its community members and is using the space for more than drawing attention to its own brand.
What’s Your Pick?
What social media customer service made your year? Let us know in the comments or nominate them for a Mashable Award.
The Mashable Awards Gala at Cirque du Soleil Zumanity (Vegas)
In partnership with Cirque du Soleil, The Mashable Awards Gala event will bring together the winners and nominees, the Mashable () community, partners, media, the marketing community, consumer electronics and technology brands and attendees from the 2011 International CES Convention to Las Vegas on Thursday, January 6, 2011. Together, we will celebrate the winners and the community of the Mashable Awards at the Cirque du Soleil Zumanity stage in the beautiful New York New York Hotel. The event will include acts and performances from our partner Cirque du Soleil Zumanity. In addition, there will be special guest presenters and appearances.
Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2011 (during International CES Convention week)
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. PT
Location: Cirque du Soleil Zumanity, New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas
Agenda: Networking, Open Bars, Acts, Surprises and the Mashable Awards Gala presentations
Socialize: Facebook, Foursquare (), Meetup, Plancast, Twitter (Hashtag: #MashableAwards)
Sponsorships are available. Please contact email@example.com for more information.