My 7-year-old niece, Mayah, loves to shop. And like many girls her age, Justice is her brand of choice. So when Christmas rolled around this past year, rather than taking the risk of buying the wrong glittery top to match this year’s “must have jeans,” I did what any smart aunt would do and opted for a gift card. However, seeing it was December 10, there was no way I was venturing out in a snowstorm only to fight through the treacherous mall traffic. So I decided to place my order online. Problem solved, at least for the moment....
After placing my order, I received the standard confirmation email with my expected delivery date of December 22. I’m not going to lie, seeing that date gave me a minor panic attack but I thought, “It is a gift card, what could go wrong?”
I did not give much thought to the gift card until the morning of the 23 when I was wrapping presents and was missing one; yes you guessed it, the gift card. I quickly logged onto my account and checked the tracking status of my package. The delivery date was updated to 7:00PM on December 24. I called customer service only to be on hold for 30 dreaded minutes, 25 of which I was regretting not going to the mall two weeks prior. Finally, I was transferred to a recording with an alternative number to call due to extreme high call volume. The new number provided only produced a busy single. At this point I started to realize there is a much bigger problem here and ventured to social media for some answers. Surely I was not the only one unable to reach customer service by phone.
My suspicions were quickly confirmed the moment I reached the brand's Facebook page. There were literally hundreds of complaints of about poor customer service, back orders, lost orders, incorrect orders, cancelations and, of course, the numerous threats of never shopping at Justice again. Wow, not a good day to work at Justice.
Rather than adding to the noise and having my comments lost in the mounds of anger and disgust, I submitted a private message explaining my concerns with my order and surprisingly had a response within a few hours. I was a little perplexed at the outrage—considering the volume of complaints, I felt a response time of a few hours seemed reasonable. So I started to dig into the comments of my fellow shoppers only to learn many comments from the days prior went unanswered.
Perhaps by the time I submitted by private message, Justice quickly learned two important lessons:
As Marketers, we must accept the fact that no matter how hard we try to shield our brand from negativity, at some point along the way, it will happen. Perhaps not at the level Justice experienced this past Christmas or 1800Flowers on Valentine’s Day, but you never know and, therefore, preparation is key.
Just as your company has emergency plans and procedures in place for natural disasters, you should also have a crisis communication plan. Waiting until your social channels are flooded with complaints is not the time to get started. When disaster hits, timing is critical. And often, the more time that passes, the more escalated the situation will become.
Here are some tips to consider when your brand is faced with a negative comment on social media:
If you would like to read more about this topic, I encourage you to check out these two posts by my colleagues, Meghan Sullivan and Andrew Osegi.
What other tips do you have for dealing with negative comments? Please share them in the comments section.
photo credit: Ѕolo