For retailers of all shapes and sizes, the holiday season can make or break a year. This holiday season is no different. According to Comscore, a leader in measuring the digital world, last year’s Thanksgiving Day registered $1.3 billion in spending, a 17% gain over 2015. Black Friday followed with even stronger spending, with $1.97 billion in online sales, up 19% from the previous year’s sales.

So what do you do when the biggest season of the year is overshadowed by poor service? You change in the same way ALEX and ANI did.

ALEX AND ANI admits their customers didn’t always feel the holiday love. In fact, customer opinion couldn’t have been worse the past holiday seasons. Customer care sentiment clocked in at 95% negative.

Miraculously, the company was able to reverse those numbers in a mere 12 months! Thanks to their major strides in customer care, ALEX AND ANI regained their customers favor, reaching an astounding 85% positive sentiment. How did they do it? We spoke with Jessica Latimer, Director, Social Media at ALEX AND ANI, who gave us her top 3 social customer service tips for marketers, no matter the company size.


1. Engage with Empathy


At ALEX AND ANI, Black Friday is about more than just revenue: It’s a critical opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences. For the eco-conscious jewelry and accessory company—which embraces ‘the power of positive energy’ as a core belief—extending good vibes to every customer interaction is engrained in its culture.

Not all complaints on social are serviceable but it is good practice to treat each person as if the interaction was happening in real life. The Connected Shoppers Report shares that 21% of shoppers are likely to use social media to request customer service. This gain in popularity is highly driven by millennials, who are 2.6x more likely than Baby Boomers to request help on social channels. Customers are growing accustomed to increasingly speedy and helpful customer service on Twitter and Facebook, and many will turn to another brand if they receive radio silence.

Social, like many other service channels, allows the opportunity to turn detractors into advocates. Instead of becoming defensive when someone complains on social, use the opportunity to turn that detractor into your biggest fan.


2. Respond Often and Early


Much of ALEX AND ANI’s turnaround can be attributed to the healing power of social customer care. Through a team effort—and a commitment to treating every customer as an individual—the company was able to transform its social service strategy.

Brands know that social customer service is now an imperative. For many customers, silence from a brand on social media is unacceptable and they expect a real person to answer when they share a request, problem, or compliment on social media. Studies have shown that when companies engage and respond to requests over social, those customers end up spending 20-40% more.  


3. Measure, Measure, Measure


“What Gets Measured Gets Managed” ~ Peter Drucker

ALEX AND ANI discovered the negative sentiment associated with the brand by measuring brand health through social listening. That discovery of negative sentiment led Jessica and team to right the ship and provide the experience their customers deserved while increasing brand health.

Regardless of the size of your retail organization, following these great tips can lead you to customer service success on your social channels. So this season, show your customers some holiday love so they return.

Learn more tips about social customer service during November & December in our Marketing Holiday Calendar.