4/26/13

Customer service gets more social for flash apparel retailer JackThreads

The menswear seller handles the inquiries with a Conversocial tool.

Zak Stambor , Managing Editor

Flash-sale menswear retailer JackThreads stepped up its social media activity about two years ago, posting more often on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. With a customer base that skews young, the retailer quickly gained a devoted following. Customers clicking from social networks to JackThreads.com account for 13.8% of the site’s traffic, making it No. 7 in theSocial Media 300, an Internet Retailer research guide that ranks retailers by the percentage of traffic to their web sites from social networks.

That traffic is largely thanks to the robust engagement of its fans. The retailer receives an average of 22 comments per Facebook post, according to the Social Media 300. As more consumers interact more often with the retailer on social media, the number of customer service-related messages also began to rise.

At first, a member of the retailer’s marketing team would pass on those questions or complaints to a customer service agent. Later, a member of the customer service staff was assigned to look for those types of posts. But with roughly a 5% uptick in the number of consumers reaching out to the retailer on social networks like Facebook and Twitter each week, that manual approach was unsustainable, says David Tull, social media manager at JackThreads, No. 440 in the Internet RetailerTop 500 Guide.

“The volume grew quickly and soon it became hard for us to keep up,” he says. 

A little more than a month ago JackThreads began working with Conversocial Ltd., a social media customer service vendor that offers retailers a dashboard that collects and displays posts about JackThreads and its products from customers who appear to be seeking assistance. Customer service agents can then respond to explicit requests for assistance, as well as help customers who are posting about an issue online but not directly to the retailer. For instance, a shopper might be complaining about a delayed order to his Facebook friends, says Tull. 

“By addressing issues even before they’re presented to us it enables us to build lasting relationships with our customers,” he says. “If we can resolve the customer’s problem, we can quickly turn a negative experience into a positive one.”

The system saves saving JackThreads’ staff a “significant” amount of time by collecting customer service-related posts in a single location, he says. Tull estimates that agents are able to respond to 10 times more issues than before when they were spending time reading through posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

That efficiency is important, Tull says, because once shoppers see others get their problems resolved on social media, it leads others to use social networks rather than e-mail or phone. Beyond that, using the tool enables JackThreads to handle the shift in consumer behavior that has more shoppers turning to social media for customer service. And since many responses are public, one response may answer others' questions. “It’s amazing how quickly that can grow,” he says.

Topics:

Conversocial, customer service, David Tull, Facebook, flash sales, Jackthreads, menswear, online apparel sales, social media, Social Media 300, Twitter, web-only retailers

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