Qantas discovered this when it encouraged people to use the Qantas Luxury hashtag to share positive experiences of flying with the Australian airline, incentivising participation with a prize of luxury pyjamas.
Instead, it was inundated with thousands of complaints and sarcastic comments from disgruntled customers who felt the service they received could not have been further from what they considered to be luxury.
McDonald’s was also stung by the unpredictability of social media when it created the McDStories hashtag in January, hoping it would unleash a stream of positive tweets extolling the virtues of its dining experience.
The fast-food behemoth reportedly stopped using the hashtag after just two hours, saying the effort “did not go as planned” following a barrage of negative tweets. But by then the hashtag had taken on a life of its own and continued to be used.
Such behaviour led to the term “bashtag” being coined to describe situations in which a corporate Twitter hashtag is used to criticise the company.
Better avoid social media
Companies had previously enjoyed a “controlled” conversation with customers in which they promoted their wares through advertisements. Unhappy consumers could only respond with a small voice, through letters or calling a customer relations team.
But social media is here to stay – and for disgruntled customers, it’s can be a powerful weapon. However, properly handled it can be a powerful weapon in the corporate communicator’s arsenal too.
Short URL & title:
Social media is changing the way customers complain — http://www.torbenrick.eu/t/r/fzl