The US online fashion retailer makes a rather bold statement in the about section of its website.

“Customer service isn’t just a department!” The entire organisation is built around one sole mission: to provide the best customer service possible.

A lot of brands may say that customer experience is at the core of their strategy, but how many follow through with this statement in practice?

Graham Charlton discussed what Zappos could teach us about staff and customer retention last month. It’s largely about making the working environment as happy as possible through plenty of staff recognition, trust, responsibility and plenty of perks.

For the customer it means ‘delivering a WOW philosophy’ through excellent service, customer focused metrics, surprising people through under-promising and over-delivering and remaining ever personal.

So Zappos delivers ‘happiness’ for its employees and for its website customers. How about its social channels? Given Zappos focus on customer service, does this extend to the channels where more and more consumers are expecting interaction from brands?

Twitter

Zappos has a very healthy and active Twitter following, and it engages with its followers with a great deal of verve and helpfulness.

It not only replies to inquisitive direct @mentions…

… but also to indirect @mentions…

It’s great at sharing content that has nothing to do with its brand, just purely for entertainment.

Best of all, even though this isn’t necessarily set up to be a customer service channel, the team here responds to customer care related queries and helps rather than just fobbing them off to the ‘right’ channel. 

My only complaint here is that, even though it does run a separate customer service Twitter account, it isn’t linked to within the main account’s profile. Perhaps because it’s happy to deal with customer enquiries here, it doesn’t feel like it needs to.

However Zappos should make it clear that it’s there to help anyway. 

Over on the Twitter customer service channel, the team replies efficiently and personally. 

In fact the above tweet is one of the best resolutions I’ve seen in under half-an-hour.

I also love this interaction…

Especially with the revelation that it has a wall of ties, clipped from past interviewees.

Facebook

Although the brand has nearly 2m likes of its Facebook page, its engagement is surprisingly low.

Perhaps this is down to slightly lacklustre posts such as this…

Photographs that are fairly bland, with text that doesn’t particularly appeal or scan that well.

At least with the following, Zappos has been quick to respond to the comment with a direct product link.

Posts that achieve better engagement tend to be ones where the retailer has teamed up with another brand and doubled its possible reach.

Although with this cross-promoted competition, Zappos has left out the important detail of what the prize is. We can assume it’s sunglasses. 

Instagram

Zappos does a much better job of engaging its community on Instagram. Here its images are a lot more interesting and attractive then they are on Facebook, with a good variation in content.

Mixing up product shots with random weirdness to entertain and behind-the-scenes shots to show personality. 

Zappos also posts some great videos here too. 

Charming, low-key and funny, with just a modicum of aspiration. It’s the perfect tone for branded short-form social video. 

For more on social media from brands on the blog, check out How Converse uses social media and how Oreo owns social media.

Our Festival of Marketing event in November is a two day celebration of the modern marketing industry, featuring speakers from brands including LEGO, Tesco, Barclays, FT.com and more.