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Case study: Brandsclub, Embracing the Avalanche

By Anna Drennan on Oct 6, 2011, 4:30:00 PM

Brandsclub used Conversocial to create a thriving customer service hub out of a potential social media disaster.

Brandsclub is a hugely successful online retailer in Brazil. Through their website they sell items from leading fashion brands such as Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret and Tommy Hilfiger, allowing members to purchase deals with discounts of up to 90%. Brandsclub has grown to 180 employees within only 3 years, and now has over 5 million members. They have one of the largest Facebook pages in Brazil.

In December 2010 a warehouse was relocated, significantly disrupting logistics during the critical Christmas period. There was a growing customer service backlog in the usual channels – primarily chat and email – as disgruntled members tried to track the status of their orders. These customers started to vent their frustration via Facebook, posting public complaints to try and reach a customer service representative. Brandsclub was soon receiving 350 queries a week on their page.

Marketers usually spent their time stimulating fan engagement, but instead they were now overwhelmed dealing with customer support issues. At first, they responded by trying to push customers back to email and chat to try and control the problem, whilst continuing to push marketing and acquisition campaigns to counter customers’ negativity. Yet they soon realised that this wasn’t the solution.

“We decided to improve our customer relationships directly through Facebook by effectively addressing our customers’ service demands.” Said Jardel Appelt, Head of Social Media, “Traditional PR approaches wouldn’t work to silence angry fans. Responding to their Facebook comments personally showed how concerned we were, and how committed we were to resolving the issues. We wanted to demonstrate our desire to make our customers happy and at the same time give a much better impression of the company to new fans. We embraced social customer service.”

Yet dealing with issues via social networks couldn’t easily fit into the existing business organisation. For the Social Media team, involving the customer service department became slow and inefficient. They had to email or call already overloaded customer service agents in an attempt to pinpoint individual comments, gain relevant information for appropriate responses, and then reply on their behalf. This process took far too long, and complaints left unanswered would encourage others to also air their grievances, making the volume of comments even more unmanageable; there was a ‘snowball effect’. To solve the problem they needed to plug customer service agents directly into the process and reach their customers faster. They needed a technological solution, as using Facebook directly didn’t provide the necessary tools.

Turning things around:

Brandsclub needed to treat Facebook and Twitter as channels on par with traditional customer support media, where every single message was analysed, and responses tracked accordingly. They researched suitable options and signed up for a free trial of Conversocial. Within 2-3 weeks, Conversocial was fully implemented across two departments, and Brandsclub was able to turn the situation around. Conversocial’s ability to quickly identify comments that required action meant that Brandsclub staff could focus on responding to complaints and questions promptly. Enabling customer services to work directly with Facebook comments and posts took away the barriers that had been slowing them down.

Brandsclub regained control of their social network channels. Their open approach has been well received by customers and to date Brandsclub has observed a 64% reduction in complaints on Facebook. Over the same time period, the company has also seen a reduction of complaints in other channels, demonstrating how using resources more effectively had a positive effect across the whole business. 

Conversocial couldn’t have been integrated too soon. In May, Brandsclub had a brief downtime crisis that saw Facebook interactions reach 9,000 per day. Their new system for handling social media complaints allowed them to take this in their stride, separating actionable customer service enquiries from the more general community management that was needed to calm the situation. Brandsclub has a team of four using Conversocial to manage its Facebook page. One team member stays on top of all incoming communication, moderates the page and assigns customer service issues to two customer service representatives using Conversocial’s simple workflow tools. 

“With Conversocial, the team reduced the time they spend managing social networks from 4 to 2 hours per day, whilst achieving quicker responses, from happier staff, to even more customers,” said Appelt. “No matter where a fan tries to communicate with us, Conversocial brings in these messages as they happen, making sure they are seen in one streamlined place.” 

You can download the full case study here.

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