It’s no secret to social media marketers that customer service is an integral part of their job. 67% of customers have reached out to a brand for customer service on social media. And with instant gratification the norm in our digital society, customers are expecting faster responses without sacrificing high levels of care.

Brands that deliver excellent customer service, and better yet, are proactive with solving problems shared on social media, are leading the next wave of social media marketing. After all, word of mouth is still king to marketers, and consumers are four times more likely to purchase when recommended by a friend.

My own story about social customer service

Now, I can continue to quote stats to you, or I can practice what I preach, and share my own story of customer service marketing on social media to prove my point (and hopefully make you a believer).

As a longtime loyal Virgin America flier and status-holder, I (like many) were heartbroken at the news of its sale to Alaska Airlines. As with many mergers and acquisitions, transitions can be rocky.

When my promo code on a future flight refused to work, I emailed Virgin America for assistance. When they refused to honor the discount, I did what 67% of consumers do – I took to social media! When Virgin America was also unhelpful on Twitter, I was ready to jump ship and move to another airline. After all, I was convinced the sale had been the death of my beloved airline… Alaska Airlines must not care.

But they did care.

And as I soon found out, Alaska Airlines was listening on Twitter and wanted to provide excellent service to a customer, even if I had never flown their airline (and at that point, was swearing I never would). 

Their social care mastermind, Michael Roy, had reviewed my email, tweets and DMs and asked if he could make it right. He had me at “Let me help” but then turned an almost “bad-vocate” into an advocate for life when he gave me two free round-trip tickets anywhere that Alaska Airlines flies.

Pretty awesome for me as a new customer, right?

The impact of one positive social care interaction

But as a marketer, I was doubly impressed. Alaska Airlines’ proactive social listening and social media outreach was already an advanced customer service practice. But let’s dive deeper into what it netted them in return.

After Michael solved my problem (and made my week) it netted:

  • 10 mentions on Twitter from me in the last 12 weeks (from zero all time).

Not impressed? Keep reading.

  • 14k impressions on my Alaska Airlines mentions on Twitter.
  • My positive mentions also created interactions with 20+ travel influencers (with a combined reach of 250k+) and 75 other consumers on Twitter.
  • I flew Alaska Airlines for the first time… without using my free tickets (yet)!
  • It even sparked this blog post.

All from one customer service interaction on the 4th largest social media network.

These interaction numbers will continue to grow overtime, not just from me, but with every other customer Alaska Airlines helps on social media. And it’s clear they means business by touting their 24/7 customer assistanceIn a world where every day another horror story with airline customer service pops up, Alaska Airlines is setting themselves far apart from the competition.

But the real lesson here is that every brand can and should provide great customer service. Check out this infographic by HelpScout with 75 customer service facts that is sure to make anyone a believer.

Is customer service in your social media marketing strategy? Share in the comments!