Whoever’s in charge of Interflora’s social media feeds needs a damn good pat on the back.
If you believe the press hundreds across the UK were left disappointed on Mother’s Day as their Interflora orders arrived in appalling condition.
Some received the wrong flowers. Some received dead ones, some with broken vases, and other tales of woe.
It’s every business’s worst nightmare. Mother’s Day is one of the most important in Interflora’s calendar as millions of families flock online to order flowers for their mums.
This was a lose-lose situation for everyone. Customers were furious and the bosses at Interflora must be distraught at letting shoppers down for the second year in a row.
Worst of all is the negative publicity that the mistakes generated. A one-off accident or two may be salvageable. Hundreds all at once, though? It’s a PR disaster.
So it’s only fair to highlight Interflora’s social media team that has handled the situation as best they could while under the media spotlight.
A thorny subject
Take a trip toward Interflora’s Twitter account and it’s like walking into a war zone.
The entire feed is one apologetic tweet after another to angry and disgruntled customers that have vented their fury at the company for falling below expectations on such an important occasion.
I still hear people scoffing at the idea of social media professionals and dismissing it as money for nothing. A student’s job.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard such tosh in all my life.
Everybody has a voice thanks to social media. It’s essential to be aware of that voice and to have a strategy in place to engage with potential and existing customers.
The strategy you’ll see on Interflora’s Twitter feed at the moment though is one of pure damage limitation.
There’s not much more they can do…
Could Interflora have done any more through its social media accounts or did the team do the best they could? Let me know in the comments below.
Nip it in the bud
Interflora’s social media team will have little-to-no information whatsoever about every single order placed with the company.
The team’s job is to be an online front of house for Interflora. To share offers from the company, talk about their products, and field any questions or customer queries that head their way.
So imagine the pressure of walking into work – on a Sunday morning, no less – and discovering an avalanche of apoplectic tweets, comment requests from media outlets, angry florists, and more.
Interflora’s Twitter skin is nice and helpful. It points out that Interflora has a community manager and lists times throughout the week when they are available to offer help.
That very community manager appears to have rolled up their sleeves and tackled the deluge with incredible professionalism and without complaint.
This is a huge mountain that Interflora’s community manager will have to scale with the peak nowhere in sight.
Messages to customers have been sent out at a steady stream since Sunday morning (and earlier in some cases) and show no sign of stopping.
But each enquiry has been treated the same way – with an apology, a request for the order number so customer services can investigate further, and a promise that the company will do everything it can to make things better.
Do you have any other examples of corporate social media excellence? Which brands raise the bar? Let me know below!
Getting to the root of the problem
If that sounds a bit hollow to you then consider these two crucial factors:
1 – This is a product-related catastrophe that has gained national media attention
2 – The sheer volume of complaints that are being handled
Both factors correlate because, with Interflora in the public eye, other disgruntled customers may feel the need to weigh in adding to the noise and making the community manager’s job more difficult.
And the social media team aren’t just tweeting replies to keep up appearances. They are handling complaints through to the end and continuing the conversation where and whenever necessary.
Also consider the internal processes. The social media team will have to be in close contact with the customer services and dispatch divisions to try and find a solution to each and every problem that has occurred.
All of this whilst trying to respond as quickly as possible to hundreds of disgruntled customers.
Come up smelling of roses?
This situation isn’t particularly pleasant for anybody involved. But Interflora’s community manager and social team, by making themselves available, has shown a great level of professionalism in dealing with it quickly and effectively.
The reward? They may keep a few customers on board, with their helpfulness hopefully convincing people to give Interflora another shot.
There’s no bad publicity, they say, but Interflora’s owners will be hoping this all blows over sooner rather than later.
But they can take pride that they have chosen their social media team very well. So many brands create social media profiles for the sake of having one.
To be a social media success, though, you need people operating your channels that are in tune with the voice of your brand and are willing to join conversations, whether you recruit internally or outsource.
And like all things in life quality will always outshine quantity. Interflora’s tweets have been sent by people with genuine consideration for its clients that want to do well for them and solve their problems.
Social media isn’t about being cool or hip. It’s about creating an open dialogue with people and building relationships with them for long-term benefit.
Luckily Interflora’s community manager was switched on enough to understand the scale of the problem and is dealing with it in a personable, professional manner, and exhibiting excellent damage limitation skills.
And when this is over, the team can go back to more creative, community outreach endeavours like its excellent Pinterest campaign which, sadly, will have been sullied by the weekend’s events.
If you’d like to know more about how social media marketing can help your business contact Webpresence today!