3 Online Customer Service Examples Every Small Business Should Follow

Posted on September 13, 2014

I am sure by now that your business has been involved in some sort of online customer service via social media channels, review portals, online chats or email. A lot of small businesses present on the web have, so what is it that truly leaves a memorable impression for customers?

Much like any other branding effort – it has to be personal, resonate close to what the customer engages with…and if possible, it has to be fun! Well that all sounds great on paper, but what would it look like in real (or digital) life?

Here are 3 examples of companies (some known, some a little less) doing a fantastic job of their customer service:

1. Netflix

Alright – unless you are a Star Trek fan this one will not make much sense to you as far as Cpt. Mike and Lt. Norm go – but just take a look at the screenshots of the customer support transcript between a Netflix support member and a Netflix customer having an issue with a season of Parks and Recreation episode getting stuck 5 minutes into the show:

(click to enlarge)
3 Online Customer Service Examples for Small Business: Netflix


There are a couple of things to take away from this EPIC online interaction:

  • Netflix customers are clearly calm (at least this one is) compared to how we expect someone to react when they’re having technical difficulties.
  • It pays to be geeky in some cases, this being one of them (I have not seen Star Trek myself).
  • Netflix has hired the right person for the job, one who is familiar/passionate about their industry (movies and shows: hence the great Star Trek character).
  • Michael (customer service rep from Netflix) is totally in character and loving it. How often do you expect an employee to have a blast when dealing with a customer who has a technical issue?
  • If you look at the end of the transcript, the customer says “I almost wish there were.” regarding anymore problems to report! How many customers did you experience WANTING to keep talking to your customer service reps after experiencing a problem?
This goes to show that if you have fun, especially during a customer service interaction where no one is expecting to have fun, that customer satisfaction (and probably retention) is very likely. Why you may ask? We’ll this customer went out of their way to share their experience online, and confirmed it in their own words at the end of the transcript.


2. Liberty Bottle Works

Ok – the first example shows a well-mannered customer looking for support, but what happens when customers aren’t as friendly? Usually business schooling tries to teach us that the customer is always right, especially in the age of social sharing. Not so much in this case; this was handled with a passionate public response from one of the co-founders rejecting to do any further business with the customer based on their negative behaviour. While you may think this may hurt their sales, according to the Daily Mirror this type of response has nearly DOUBLED their sales!

Here is a drinks bottle company from Washington receiving a nasty post on their Facebook wall:


Liberty Bottle Works response? Just take a look for yourself:


Why was this customer experience AWESOME?

  • It may not have been awesome for the customer in the example, but it was awesome to the rest of the customers because it shows They did everything possible to resolve the issue and respond to the customer.
  • No business is too small, or too big, to have its owners/founders/CEOs involved in customer disputes – it is an organization-wide effort.
  • Contrary to popular belief: the customer is not always right. There is a fine line between contacting a company to resolve an issue versus harassing the people who are trying to help.
  • The co-owner cares NOT only about the company but the employees and has no problem expressing that publicly. How great would it be to work for this company?

3. Bodyform (Maxipad)

Content marketing is no longer a well-hidden secret among the best of marketing gurus. Could content customer service be the latest best-kept secret? I hope not, if your small business has the means and time to respond to an internet troll comment like Bodyform did below…or answer any type of question with a video, please do not hesitate!

Take a look at this rant comment by a customer trying to be funny on Bodyform’s Facebook page:


That’s not all, according to Mashable several other men have copied and pasted the comment on their product page as well.

Now – this comment is focused on a fairly personal subject: the female menstrual cycle. While it may be a joke to some, to others it can be perceived as a painful and uncomfortable experience. An experience perception this company (like others) is trying to shift towards the positive.

So, how to respond to these types of online comments? Bodyform went a step beyond just replying to the comment on the Facebook page, they made an actual video – have a look:

This is the description of the YouTube video:


How is this video a GREAT response to this mocking comment?

  • Honesty: the “would be” CEO explains that their marketing research has shown that this is the best way to portray the menstrual cycle based on focus groups (hilarious reactions by the men there!)
  • Reality: women fart? really? Of course they do – even the CEO of a company, we are all human at the end of the day regardless of our age, gender, race, corporate title, etc.
  • Personal: mention the person’s name directly in the video and actually show a computer screen with an actual comment. Talk about H2H (human 2 human) customer service!

So what are you waiting for? Don’t be afraid to make customer service a personal, fun experience for both customers and employees alike. Lt. Norm out!