5 Social Media Customer Service Lessons From Etsy

Most companies use social media for marketing. But imagine if they also used it for customer service how far that would go with the existing customer. DuctTape Marketing talks about the social media hour glass where customers need to know, like, and trust you before they try, buy, refer you.

Existing customers already know, like, and trust you. They’ve tried your product and have bought it. But whether they refer you or not and whether they repeat their business is entirely up to you. You can have the best product, but bad customer service will result in bad word-of-mouth marketing and lost sales.

Recently I bought a custom Twitter pillow at an Etsy shop online. The person who made the pillow sought me out on Twitter and tweeted me that she just shipped my new custom pillow.

When I received the pillow, it didn’t look like the picture, because it was missing the Twitter bird. I sent her a direct message because I don’t think that calling people out on social networks is necessary unless they don’t respond to your emails or private messages. She couldn’t  believe that she forgot to add the Twitter bird. So she offered to make me a new one. Because I saw that the address happened to be local, I suggested she just pick up the existing pillow and add the Twitter bird to it if possible. She was more than happy to oblige on my schedule and then not only fixed it, but shipped it back the next day.Now that is good customer service. Why?

  1. She acknowledged the problem quickly.
  2. She took full responsibility.
  3. She didn’t inconvenience me, but rather worked around my schedule.
  4. She mended the situation, and expeditiously delivered the final product to me;
  5. without any out of pocket expense to me.
Isn’t that what all good customer service experiences should be like?

More companies use social media for customer service than you think, and not just for call center complaints, either.

  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts used Twitter to attract celebrities by monitoring celebrity stays on Twitter and catering to their every tweet.
  • Best Buy’s Twelp Force answers any tech question or problem with the help of over 2,200 employees and makes it optional for the employees to participate after hours.
  • Comcast decided to tackle their 3 million customer service calls per year with social media and now review 6,000 blog posts and over 2,000 tweets per day to simply answer the question, “Can I help?” – which has gone a long way with their customer base.
  • Scotty’s Brewhouse decided to reward a few fans on Twitter with a $10 gift certificate for just tweeting about going to their restaurant (but they never made it).
  • Citibank has a Twitter account called @AskCiti decided to tackle customer service issues but because they are a financial services organization they need to abide by some stricter rules. Their privacy policy and how to engage with them is stated right on their Twitter page. The one thing they are super clear about is not DMing or tweeting account #s or pin #s.
    See image below.
In general, it’s better if you can have separate social media accounts for your customer service and marketing platforms, but that’s not always feasible. Like Citibank, larger companies can afford to have separate accounts. However, for smaller companies like Scotty’s Brewhouse, one account is all they can manage and they make the best of it.
Do you use social media for customer service? Do you think it’s effective?
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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.