Being social media savvy is a must these days, and when we’re not tweeting or adding hashtags to pics and posts, we’re keeping a watchful eye on the brands and individuals who sometimes get it oh-so-wrong online.
I loved seeing Poundland’s recent response to Thameslink on Twitter; the team defended its customer service when the brand was used to describe something negative.
Thameslink described train cancellations and poor traveller communication as “less Ferrero Rocher and more Poundland cooking chocolate” – I’m sure it didn’t expect Poundland’s social listening to be so acute or that the store would be so passionate about its service. But when something is a core part of your business, you stand up for it.
Poundland sent Thameslink to the Twitter wasteland with its tail between its legs, highlighting that no Poundland store had closed due to “leaves on the roof, the wrong kind of rain or a shortage of managers”. Poundland 1, Thameslink 0.
It was the hashtag #Proudland that I loved most in all this. It’s been a brand win for Poundland. Anyone who read its response was left in no doubt that service is crucial to Poundland, and it is rightly proud to do a good job in this area.
I’m not a regular Poundland shopper, but I’m among the many who pop in for Christmas stocking fillers. And I’ve never had a bad customer service experience – not something I can say about taking the train.
The exchange leaves us with a vital message: no matter where you are on the budget spectrum, good service is one of the most important areas of any business, and needs to be protected.
As a cruise line, we spend huge amounts of time and money training our agent friends and supporting partners to sell cruises on more than price, and cruise is not the only sector to address the price-tag challenge. When a store that is famous because everything it sells costs £1 and defends its service with more force than you see in a Real Madrid striker’s boot, you know that it is more important than anything else.
Poundland knows its business is nothing without the loyalty built up through great service. They say low budgets force you to be more creative – in Poundland’s case, it breeds great common sense too, and I’m proud to work in a sector and with agents who also take service seriously.
Staying true to your brand on social media is crucial. My Instagram followers know my two great loves – dogs and my job. It was a clever social media professional who ensured that on Twitter KFC follows only 11 people – five Spice Girls and six people with the name Herb, echoing the firm’s 11 herbs and spices recipe. I’m not a fried chicken fan but I love this.
Social media is woven into all that we do, and brand banter has become headline-grabbing. But get it wrong in the quest for a chuckle and the price of customer dissatisfaction can be hefty. I’m watching my fast fingers on social posts more closely now. Expect Poundland shopping updates from me soon.
Jo Rzymowska is managing director of Celebrity Cruises, UK & Ireland and Apac