Malaysian social media incidents, mistakes, bad practices & case studies 2012 – 2013
[Updated 23 June 2014]
Disclaimer: Before you go on reading, please be informed that I have no intention of defaming any person, brand or organisation. I have no connection what-so-ever with anyone or party involved in the social media incidents listed below. I’m only sharing what I saw and learnt, and I believe these are great case studies for all Malaysian social media practitioners. Everything else stated on this entry were merely my personal opinions.
This list only consists of incidents involving companies, brands or businesses, hence individual cases like the whole DustyHawk ordeal (2013) weren’t listed below.
Paradigm Mall Facebook Page’s sarcastic “magic” response to customer complaints (2012)
This was definitely the first real Facebook disaster in Malaysia that went viral nationwide, all thanks to the lack of quick reaction from Paradigm Mall’s public relations department. This case clearly teaches all companies one thing – ensure that the person handling the social media of your business has basic customer service knowledge. Being a smart ass is no way to response to the public because after all, they ARE customers. However, the management of the mall was able to turn this whole mess around into positive publicity after issuing a public apology on their Facebook Page and hiring magicians to perform in the mall. Unfortunately, more errors occurred in the mall just weeks later which spoiled all their hard work.
Lazada Malaysia Facebook counter-complaint tactic backfired by accident (2012)
Lazada Malaysia have been badly criticised by their customers for their apparent poor and slow services. They could’ve improved their services. They could’ve just admitted their faults and issued a public apology. They could’ve responded to the complaints on their Facebook Page. But noooo, they just had to make things complicated for themselves by posting phantom comments (basically fake positive comments). I believe they’ve created many of them but only this time, they made a mistake by not switching to their phantom profile before commenting. As though patting themselves at their own backs weren’t enough, they called their customers ‘stupid’ and ‘ignorant’ on that comment as well.
KL Social Media, the “social media guru” community with nothing but bad social media practices (2012)
Oh, the irony. Apparently this was basically what happened; the Paradigm Mall case was referenced during KL Social Media’s “Social Media Crisis Management” seminar-event and one of the attendees ran an experiment by posting a simple and short complaint on KL Social Media’s Facebook Page Wall, just to see how well these “gurus” could handle it. Another attendee also complained along onto that post. The result was shocking and it turned out that these self-proclaimed “social media gurus” didn’t take their own advice.
KL Social Media argued and tried to defend themselves by telling them to “stop complaining
all the time” and reminding them about the freebies and free meal that were worth more than the event’s ticket price. They also told the attendees to bugger off to another platform if they didn’t like the event. As the conversation developed, they accused this attendee for having bad motives and that he’s jealous because they did a better event than him. This attendee was forced remove this post from his own wall after receiving a letter from a lawyer representing KL Social Media. Apparently, he was also demanded to an issue public apology to them, clarify the matter to every single person who shared and liked the post, and to compensate the “damages” with RM5,000 otherwise they would bring this to court (I know because I messaged him on Facebook out of curiosity when I noticed that the post was removed).
More attendees made complaints on their Facebook Page and like previous encounter, they tried to remind them that they should be happy for the prizes they won. Then it became ugly when they tried to blame the faults on the attendees themselves and arguing with them before threatening them with their lawyer. Why oh why couldn’t they just explain the situation, accept the feedback nicely and apologise even if they felt it’s unnecessary? It’s generic, it shows that you’ve got class, it’s basic customer servicing and people would’ve moved on quicker. How can a community of “social media gurus” not know this?
Of course, after all that, fearing for their reputation, they disabled the public posting function and deleted most of those comments. Anyone who tries to make a case now would either be denied or their comment would just disappear. Where is the transparency? Never mind, this only means they know their problems, just that they refuse to openly admit it… because they have their “social media guru” title to maintain.
I found this case really interesting so I dug deeper into their Facebook Page. Guess what I found out? They ran a contest on the Page instead of an application and the mechanism of the contest required the participants to use the functions of Facebook. I doubt they even knew that they were breaching the Facebook Pages Terms of that time (back then Facebook Pages were supposed to run contests/promotions on third party applications only).
Now, I just wonder if they’d reference themselves as a case study in their next event. I would certainly love to see them do so but looking at how they tried to hide everything by deleting every negative comment, I highly doubt they would.
Peugeot Malaysia posts questions on their own Facebook post (2012)
Sorry, I couldn’t retrieve the screenshot of this. Should’ve saved it when it was being shared around that time. Basically what happened was that they posted a new car teaser on their Facebook Page and I think they probably wanted to make the post look good and hype it up a bit by commenting and enquiring on that Wall Post themselves. But carelessly, they did it without switching to a personal profile first. Someone saw it right before they removed the comment, took a screenshot and let it went viral.
Les Deux Garcons Bangsar bakery’s major Facebook disaster (2013)
Ignoring complaints on social channel is now officially not the worst thing you could do. This unnecessary outburst escalated so fast that even the Australian news portals reported about it on the day itself when it was happening. Why was this such a big news? Well nobody thought anyone in business would be bad-ass enough to scold a complaining customer publicly online, call the person a bitch, and show “attitude” to everyone else commenting who were absolutely shocked with the Facebook Page admin’s response.
The Facebook Page was no longer online (last I checked) and nobody really knows what happened to the bakery shop.
Funny tweets by Malindo Air Twitter hijacker (2013)
Malindo Air’s Twitter account was hacked and brilliantly hilarious tweets were being posted. The tweets became viral so quickly that even politician YB Tony Pua was amused by it. He even started sharing screenshots of the tweets on his Facebook Page. Some were speculating that it may have been a publicity stunt as there’s no real damage to the new budget airline’s reputation besides indicating that their management might be incompetent. Changing the password or temporarily privatising the account could’ve easily put an end to the comedic situation but apparently Malindo’s team in charge had no idea how to do so. If they can’t even handle a Twitter account, would you trust them to manage an airline?
Online rally: Boycott A Cut Above (2013 – present?)
So this customer of A Cut Above named Tanya H. Fernandez got her hair messed up by the salon and the management’s decision was to refuse to offer a refund or even an attempt to repair. She went on starting this Boycott A Cut Above Facebook Page to create awareness about the incident and to start a rally against the salon. She even emailed the media and bloggers to share about it (I received it as well).
There’s a lot of immature back-and-forth of ugly conversations between both parties, from the owners of the salon Winnie Loo and Richard Teo, to their daughter Hazel Teo, and one of the netizens who was friends of the owners, played the peacemaker, which sort of brought them together to meet up and talk about it.
Both parties did indeed meet up to resolve the problem, the victim was satisfied with how Winnie Loo handled the meeting, most of the posts on the Facebook Page were deleted and everyone thought peace was achieved… until some issue revived the Page again and went on even until today. Apparently, in a magazine interview, Winnie Loo said that she told Tanya that she “forgives her”. I thought only our leaders are capable of such outrageous statements.
Well folks, these were all I’ve came across in these past two years. I highly doubt that there’d be any worse than these in the future. But then again, you will never know. Many Malaysians just don’t learn. If you know any more cases like these, please do share it with us by commenting below.
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