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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Social media disasters

8 November 2019

Yesterday I wrote about my disappointing experiences with Noel Leeming's online chat and price-match service.

It seems that I am far from the only one utterly disappointed with the company and I can not believe what I read on their Facebook page under "Visitor Posts".

It is pretty clear that NL are using Facebook as a "write-only" medium and obviously don't even read what disgruntled customers have been saying.

What a PR disaster. What's more, it shows that they have absolutely no idea how to manage their social media presence.

Is NL's social media team a bunch of retired folk who still use hand-cranked phones and thing "the internet" is just a fad or something?

I can think of no other reason why they go to all the trouble of creating a presence on Facebook, only to have it turn into something that will discourage even the bravest shopper from risking their hard-earned cash with the company.

Just for fun, I thought I'd also check out NL's sister-company, The Warehouse.

As with the NL page, posts on The Warehouse's Facebook presence are similarly damning and remain unanswered by the company.

Seriously, talk about shoot yourself in the foot!

So is *anyone* doing a good job of leverating social media for their commercial gain by demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction and support?

Over at the Bunnings NZ Facebook page I see that they've simply turned off user-posts, allowing them only to reply to promotional posts made by the company itself. Whilst this shows a degree of social-media savvy, it does not demonstrate a commitment to customer service and makes you wonder why they've not allowed people to voice their concerns via this mechanism.

What about Mighty Ape then, you'd think that as a dedicated online e-tailer, they'd have a pretty good handle on using social media to not only promote their brand but also support their customers -- and they do! Their Facebook page has very few complaints and almost every customer post has a response from the company, something that shows they are listening and responding to the needs of those customers

That's a pass-mark for Mighty Ape.

Another high-scorer is Countdown Supermarkets. Although their Facebook page has a fair number of complaints, each of those complaints is responded to and resolved in a timely fashion. Good work!

So why is there such a huge difference between the way NL and The Warehouse completely destroy their own credibility via social media, and the way that Mighty Ape and Countdown's presence demonstrates a clear commitment to customer support?

If this was 2005 I could understand some companies not really having a clue about how to use the Net to their benefit... but it's almost 2020, and to see major NZ retailers completely stuffing it up is rather a shock -- especially when the worst offenders are also trying to muscle in on the online shopping market.

Shareholders should be outraged and management should be kicking some arses for this level of incompetence and arrogance.

What do readers think?

In the case of those companies which simply don't understand or pay nothing more than lip service to social media, would they actually be better advised to take down their Facebook pages and consider that "sometimes it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all trace of doubt"?

To the forums with ye... and tell us about any social media disasters you've seen on the part of household-name brands and companies.

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