Defining great online customer service

The latest customer service index from Brandwatch was published recently and it includes some interesting observations on what really defines great customer service – especially for online retailers.

John Lewis was the runaway winner for the second year running, with a significant lead over their rivals. But a very interesting observation is that only three retail brands enjoyed more positive customer discussion about good service, rather than bad – John Lewis, Waitrose, and B&Q.

Great online service is about providing information, but also about engaging with customers. The John Lewis Twitter account has been particularly busy and is now a very important channel for the company to engage with customers.

They published almost 50 per cent more information on Twitter than the nearest rival during the time Brandwatch was producing their report and on average were responding to questions from customers within 16 minutes. Thanks to this online attentiveness two thirds of online posts mentioning John Lewis are positive, far above most retailers – who are generally dealing with online complaints, not compliments.

The Brandwatch information shows just how important social media is now becoming to retailers. Customers expect engagement and answers when they ask questions – and the traditional customer service department has been entirely shaken up because most customers don’t directly address the company through a call or email, they are just tweeting a comment. It is up to the retailer to monitor and respond to those messages or customers start feeling ignored.

Good online service is about listening, analysing, and engaging with customers, not just firing off random tweets. Many are still struggling because customer expectations are so high, but it seems a few are already on the right path.

John Lewis


Photo by Uli Harder licensed under Creative Commons

This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Customer Service, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Defining great online customer service

  1. Social customer service is definitely a journey, and as you say the first step is listening to what is being said on social media. The critical next action is being able to answer quickly and to engage with customers – the perfect example is O2’s response to complaints on Twitter during its recent outage, which arguably improved how the brand was viewed despite its technical problems. More in the Eptica blog at

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