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Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

Excellent Customer Service is Amazing Marketing

Finalist in Customer Service


Social Media customer support is the much expanding next phase of the customer experience. The location and method that a customer wants to communicate is an extremely critical part of customer support. As communication evolves from phone to text to Twitter and beyond, Social networking is transforming the world of customer interactions, enabling businesses to interact with customers like never before. At AOL's Voice of the Customer (VOC) team, we realized this many years ago, understanding the need to keep our customers informed, up-to-date and in the loop of all issues or product updates that could potentially impact their daily lives. We continue to do this today (with a particularly strong focus on Twitter and Facebook), with future planning (planning for what "could" happen), new tools, a focus on single-contact resolution and a very short average response (ART) time. This entry isn't focused on one particular event or campaign, but what we do for our customers every single day.

Strategy and Execution

Our strategy is simple, but super effective.

1. First things first - You must listen to your customer and we do in so many ways. Not only do we monitor our verified Twitter handles (@aolsupporthelp, along with six other handles) and Facebook pages (AOL Mail, along with three other pages), we monitor, listen and action customer comments and Tweets from blogs, forums, news feeds, You Tube and more. And, we do this daily, 24/7, answering customer questions, needs and wants while also keeping them updated on specific issues or events.

2. We value each and every customer and respond to each and every one with a courteous and professional answer. Sounds easy, but with a very small staff and 3K+ comments a week, it can be hard to maintain a quick ART. We have a succinct system in place to do so and it shows with the great comments we hear back from our customers (examples included below).

3. We are mastering what others can't. We keep our company executives and product managers informed. Each customer feedback is categorized and compiled into reports and sent to our product managers. These reports are used to better AOL's products and services.

One example that stands out is from last year when we had a problem that impacted many of our customers. Because of our pre-planning, our VOC team went into action (we were cool, calm and collected). We immediately posted an overall statement of the issue on our Twitter handles and Facebook pages. Informing our customers was and is our top priority. It's also important to us to respond to each customer so that we build a personal relationship with them, keeping them updated on the progress of an issue, as well as when it is resolved so they are not left in the dark. Using Social Media is one of the fastest and best ways to get a communication out to the public. We don't hide. We are specific, clear and to the point.


Happy, informed customers (it's that simple)!

In late 2016, we found an even better way to save time and notify our customers even faster of an issue. We implemented a new tool that could reach many customers on Social Media at once. For example, during a big issue we receive about 200 customer tweets during a period of 10 minutes. On average, it takes about one minute to respond to each customer's question and action a case. This isn't bad; however, with this new tool, our team is now able to answer all 200 customers at the same time within one minute and with a personalized touch!

"@aolmailhelp thanks for fixing it. Great support!"

"@AOLSupportHelp You're all angels, and I apologize for think you're a Bot, even for a second"

"@AOLSupportHelp thank you for being proactive...much appreciated"

"@AOLSupportHelp thanks just spoken with the support team - excellent customer service!!"

"@AOLSupportHelp Will do! Thank you for getting back to me so quickly - much appreciated."

"Woo! I got my Twitter account back! Thanks @AOLSupportHelp for helping me get access to my email! :)"



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