Why Social Media Customer Service is a GameChanger: A Zappos.com Story

Jameson Brown VP, Strategic Operations , Knechtel Group

Posted on December 24th 2012

Why Social Media Customer Service is a GameChanger: A Zappos.com Story

Long title, huh? Well, there’s a reason I included “Social Media Customer Service” as opposed to “Customer Service” standing alone. But I’ll get to that in a bit. The holidays are a time of family, friends, yada yada yada, but what happens when those shoes don’t come on time? Or that playhouse that will take you a week to build incorrectly gets double charged on your account? How do these holiday debacles genuinely get resolved…and with a smile on the customer’s face? It’s hard, but it can be done.

So I had sidelined my Christmas shopping day after day after day..whoops. Who doesn’t, right? I knew what I was ordering though (baby converse shoes for my niece) and knew I would be going straight to Zappos to knock it out in about five minutes. I went to the Zappos link my sister had given me and nothing. Got an always friendly “Internal Error” message. So I immediately went to the Zappos brand page and said “I need help!” Below is the customer service magic that ensued…


Screen shot 2012-12-23 at 9.16.29 AM

My initial cry for help






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Their response, plus another community member chiming in with some holiday cheer






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Them actually helping me with real info, not company lines










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My mind blown + them being awesome + another question from me










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Boom, them hitting back with more real help – please note that this is not fake help











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Holiday high-fives all around




The next time you have a customer problem with a brand, go to them and let them know. Don’t complain repetitively because nothing gets accomplished with that mindset on either end. Trust me, not all Community Managers respond to you dropping a hundred F-bombs. Come as a customer who is on an honest search for a solution. If you take this attitude, then a solution can typically be reached. Not always, but most of the time.

And the reason I chose “Social Media Customer Service” over just “Customer Service” is because this is the number one line of brand communication today. It’s not hard, when you call a customer service line you are only one on one. But when you take to the social airwaves (in a respectful and mature manner), your inquiry is seen my hundreds of thousands – it’s hard to throw company lines at that.


Have you had any social media customer service blunders recently? If so, how did they turn out? 


Jameson Brown

VP, Strategic Operations , Knechtel Group

Jameson is a social media and video marketing enthusiast who is currently the VP of Strategic Operations at Knechtel Group, a new media agency in Atlanta, GA and New York. Clients have included IMAX, Macy's, Advanstar Communications, AutoTrader.com, Cox Communications, Progressive Int'l Motorcycle Shows, Stan Lee's Comikaze, Novelis and more. 

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Kent Ong
Posted on December 27th 2012 at 12:47PM

Zappo customer servicer reminds me of Nordstrom. Nordstrom did the same thing to its customers as well when their products were out of stock. They went crazy to search for their customers. Imagine that at that time, there was no internet yet.

Posted on December 28th 2012 at 7:14PM

That's a really interesting point you bring up, Kent. Talk about challenging! Thanks for the comment! 


Posted on December 28th 2012 at 5:48AM

Great example of social media customer service.

 I had an experience with Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza that I recently talked about in my blog.  Started off as a negative experience but turned out well for everyone.




Posted on December 28th 2012 at 7:15PM

Thanks! Great customer service is VITAL. I will definitely take a look at your example. 

Talk soon, 


Posted on December 30th 2012 at 8:50AM

Due to the advance of IT at this time and people are into social media, it will be a great idea to implement great customer service through social media. Customers are the company's greatest assets. Mostly, customers are now into social media too, so the company must also do the same.

Ruth Lever Kidson
Posted on January 4th 2013 at 4:19PM

What a great experience you had.  It contrasts strongly with my experience on Twitter who, you would think, would know something about social media!  My account was recently suspended for 'aggressive following' (of which I was not guilty).  I managed to get it back by agreeing not to do it again!  All Twitter's communications were in the shape of form-letter emails.  Once reinstated, I discovered the reason I'd been suspended was because I'd been hacked!  I tried to contact Twitter to tell them this . . . and there was no way I could do so.  The only way to contact Twitter, it seems, (apart from in a few very clearly defined cases) is by snail mail!

Posted on February 21st 2013 at 12:05PM


Hi Jameson

Great post, thanks!

I am writing a post about social media as a customer service channel, and this is a great example of exemplary customer service. Of course Zappos can be used as a great social media example for most angles, but the service you received really is a cut above! :)

There are so many stories of massive social media fails and social media customer service fails that it;s quite uplifting to hear some companies are gettig it right.