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ModCloth uses product reviews to boost customer service


I'm not a huge fan of shopping for anything other than accessories online. It's hard to determine fit, color and quality by looking at a few photos. Then when your items arrive and they don't fit, it can take weeks and a few annoying phone calls to either get a refund, store credit or exchange the item.

But have any of you ever shopped with ModCloth? I found the site through a perfectly targeted Facebook ad. The diverse selection comes from indie designers and the price point seems reasonable. They're also a company that approaches customer service by using conversational technology.

While browsing, the dress pictured below caught my eye. It had a lot of "likes" (a feature similar to liking objects on your Facebook news feed) but only a three-star rating. Like most online shopping sites, customers can rate and review ModCloth garments, so I checked out the reviews and saw multiple exchanges like this:


Sarita Oct 21, 2009 -I just received this dress. I wish I could give it a 2 1/2 stars. The skirt part is quite lovely, but the top part of the dress looks cheap. The fabric is see-through in a worse than usual way: you can see exactly where the dress has fabric sewn on the inside. For example the area with the cowl and the back area with the open triangle both have extra fabric around the borders to reinforce it. This is clearly visible when the dress is on. And of course, you can totally see a bra underneath, regardless of the color of the undergarment. I would say to simply wear a cardigan with the dress, but that defeats the purpose of the cute cut-out on the back. Very disappointing.

And then this:

Reply from Sarah Oct 23, 2009 - We're sorry to hear that the Blowing Bubbles Dress didn't work out for you. We'd love to help. I'll send you an email with more information.

It's rare to see a company publicly acknowledging issues on a channel usually reserved for peer reviews, but it's a fresh approach - one I can appreciate, since I use social networks and peer reviews.

ModCloth was more than willing to share their customer service philosophy with me. Natasha Khan, ModCloth's Social Networking coordinator, said their efforts are based on brand experience, not just visualizing their products.

"ModCloth isn't a brick-and-mortar store, so the relationship builds online. Our customers relate to our company story, they enjoy playing our innovative social media contests, and they build communities on sites like Flickr and Facebook and on our own site by building conversations around our items," Khan said.

Their efforts don't end when a user leaves a social networking platform, which (in my opinion) is a crucial part of making social media work for any company. Encouraging positive or negative discussion offline or in private assures customers that you're not responding just to save face.

"That is how we build trust, instead of marketing at them, we join the discussion," Khan said.

Customers are human beings - treat them as such! A great piece of advice for any business owner, and a mindset we're adopting at the World Company (check out @SFBroadband if you have questions or problems with your Sunflower Broadband cable/internet.)

Anyone else have good examples of companies providing customer service through social media? Share them in the comments.


debbi 8 years, 6 months ago

I use SmugMug to store & share my photos online. Awhile back I uploaded a batch, but they weren't appearing on the site, so I asked the company about it via Twitter.

I got a response fairly quickly from them that said the pictures were queued and they were working on an issue. The pictures I uploaded showed up not too long after that.

That dress is adorable, by the way.

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