We’ve written about the potential of using social media for customer service, or at least monitoring and responding to customers’ comments and complaints, and here is a great example of how valuable this can be.

Naked Wines, which launched last December, was very quick to get involved in social media; it has a Twitter account as well as a Facebook group, and this example shows the value of monitoring and responding to customers’ concerns where they are talking about you.

A customer complained on the company’s Facebook page about an order that hadn’t been received yet. Naked Wines responded to the initial query by phone and offered a refund, but the customer took the complaint online.

Naked Wines’ responded by offering the customer a full refund:

Hello , I’m sorry to hear that this isn’t working out for you. We thought that we’d explained and resolved everything yesterday when we phoned you, but from your comments below you’re clearly still unhappy. We have therefore refunded everything you have ever spent with us. We have also closed your account as it sounds as though we’re not right for one another. Best wishes.

There was a further complaint from the customer:

I NOT RECEIVED MY REFUNDS YET HAVE NO WINE… JUST MISSING MONEY FROM MY ACCOUNT

Naked Wines’ response:

We’ve done EVERYTHING we can possibly do for you. We have refunded EVERYTHING you have EVER spent with us from day one – as we told you twice last week. It, of course, takes several working days for the money to hit your account – we cannot speed that up! Please speak to your bank if you have an issue.

This response finally convinced the disgruntled customer, who apologised for the capitals and thanked the company. Thanks to monitoring social media – CEO Rowan Gormley tells me that Facebook groups and Twitter pages are monitored on a daily basis – the company was able to turn this complaint into positive PR, by showing other users that they will deal with customer complaints effectively and quickly.

Another added benefit was that other Facebook users backed the company up, praising their standards of service. Here are some typical comments: 

can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time. Personally I think NW are doing great things for the online wine game – certainly keeping most of the people happy ALL of the time!

I am actually tempted to try Naked Wines because of the way they deal with… SHOUTING IN CAPITALS…….They seem very reasonable while she doesn’t…..

what a sad misunderstanding .. I can vouch that customer services at Naked Wines are extremely customer oriented ..

Responding in public to such customer complaints requires some tact and good judgement, but when done well like this it can be a big win for a company in terms of positive PR.

It also emphasises the value of monitoring what is being said about your brand online so you can respond when necessary.

It also shows the value of setting up Facebook groups and Twitter accounts to give customers another useful channel to contact your company and an outlet for queries and complaints, as well as the reviews and praise which is common on Naked Wines’ Facebook page.