By adaptive - March 12th, 2015

Spotify drives rich engagement with their dynamic social customer service strategy.

Social customer service is all about customer engagement.  It’s about the conversations that businesses need to have with the people who use their services and products. Spotify is already talking to their consumers, and they’re having all kinds of fun.

The iconic music streaming service first shot to fame in 2008 with its rich reserves of music from labels such as Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal, and today has over 60 million active users. Keeping these customers happy is a full time job, and one that Chug Abramowitz, Global Senior Director, Online and Social Media Customer Support at Spotify USA, does with aplomb.

Have a Presence, Make it Count

“The reason social customer service is so important is because customers are all over the social channels and they’re definitely talking about you. It’s important to have a presence otherwise you gain no influence over these conversations. The more involved you are, the more you can help people.”

The goal for any form of customer service is to help the customer, regardless of whether it is through traditional methods or social.

“At its core, customer service isn’t changing; it’s still about providing customers with solutions. It’s just that now there are more ways for consumers to get in touch with brands, and the different channels require different skill sets.”

There also needs to be a methodology behind this engagement that epitomizes the brand. Spotify focuses on creative ways of interacting with their customers to ensure that issues are resolved as quickly and concisely as possible – crafting those moments of, “Wow!” that bring people back and build brand loyalty.


“We have come up with ways of building those Wow Moments for our customers such as including a song in our message. If a customer tweets us with ‘I love you Spotify’ we will tweet them back with the song ‘I love you more’, for example. We also send playlists with music recommendations based on some of their music history or put a message into the song titles when we respond to customers. These are all unique things we have done that are specific to our business and designed to blow our customers away.”

A Core Philosophy Makes All the Difference

Spotify’s core philosophy is around the concept of Positive Active. Engagement with customers is designed to be as positive as possible while actively trying to help consumers to achieve resolution. This underpins all interactions, regardless of how angry or frustrated a customer has become.

“No matter how they come at us, we always try to respond in a really positive active manner. I would say that 99% of the time, when you come at a customer with a positive active attitude, they’re going to end up leaving happy. Even if you can’t solve their problem, as long as you show that you are actively trying to help them, they take that as a good sign.”


This only serves to underscore the value of relationships in social customer service. A critical element that can transform the way customers perceive the brand, regardless of what channel is used to engage with them. This is where the people used by the business come into play, alongside the training they receive in order to stay within communication parameters.

“Social media advisors are unique. Ours undergo a stringent writing test, and we look for those who like talking with people and using social media, who are engaged on social and are curious about its potential. The people who are the best social media agents are those with a little sense of humor – I think it’s critical that people understand sarcasm and cultural idioms. We have worked hard to create a really solid profile of the right person.”

Spotify also focuses heavily on training, giving their teams the tools they need to deal with issues and understand how every word they say is now in the public space, forever. Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, and teams have advisors and team coaches to turn to when interesting situations arise.

“A while ago Aaron Paul tweeted a picture of another streaming service that wasn’t available in the country he was visiting at the time. One of our guys saw that and responded with a playlist that was along the lines of ‘Hey, you should check out Spotify’ and the playlist had a message that said ‘You want music? We got music b*tch!’ – a response that is totally in line with his character on the show. They checked with me first, but we have set up the systems so that people can be creative and do things that are out of the box.”


That said Abramowitz is quick to point out that it is critical to stay in line with the company’s tone of voice and messaging and to ensure that marketing and customer service remain in step, showing a unified front to the world.

“One of our first challenges was getting in line with marketing. Our social media advisors are the definition of brand advocates and we have an entire team of people who love Spotify and are its evangelists. So we have worked with marketing to find ways of helping them out, promoting what they are promoting and maximizing the engagement power of our teams.”

Tweets and retweets and favorites are used to measure impact of social customer service, along with volumes and quality. 

“We’re big on average time to first response and how quickly we are getting back to people and the average time to follow up on responses. We are still working on a lot of these key performance indicators and metrics, as I think this is an ever evolving thing. At the end of the day, the measurement we want to get to is where we look at the volume someone is working, the complexity of the case and the time involved, and metrics around the Wow Moments.”

Spotify implemented their Random Acts of Kindness system (RAKS) and a monthly competition. Every month they pick out the top RAKS and the winner gets dinner for two, then all the winners go into a raffle for a chance to attend the South by South West music festival in Austin, Texas and work in the Big Green House. The system is designed to inspire teams to wow customers and become more engaged in the brand themselves—and it works. Engagement, both within and without, is the golden ticket.

“The key is finding ways to engage your customer that are specific to your product, and that has been our focus. We have hired a bunch of really creative people, trained them well and let them run loose with a few guard rails to make sure nothing really bad happens. It’s been good - we have great people and a great product.”

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