On naming and shaming

The first post I read this morning was @mummybarrow’s Ranty Friday on her twitter conversation with Dom Joly (whoever that is) about his use of the c word when referring to an experience with Cineworld. I’m 100% with Mummy Barrow on this one by the way – and I’m saying that as a swearer myself – have a read and see where you stand.

But I’m not going to talk about swearing on twitter, I’m going to talk about something I find even more offensive – ‘naming and shaming’. This kind of thing:

‘Awful customer service from XYZ at @asda Cardiff Bay today’

‘Would it be so hard to smile at your customers, XYZ @sainsburys in Roath?’

‘Not sure what you’re paying XYZ in your Cardiff branch for, @johnlewis, it’s certainly not for good customer service’

These are all paraphrased examples of tweets that I’ve seen – you’ve probably had similar ones pop up on your timeline. And more often than not these tweets are from people who have no idea how crap and demoralising a minimum wage job at the front line of retail/call centres/other service industry because they’ve never had to do it.

I DETEST this sort of tweeting. It’s no more and no less than bullying. It’s abusing one of Twitter’s great strengths – the ability to have a direct line to the brands you care about, and turning it into an anonymous hit and run, and one with no consequences or comebacks. Someone is going to get at least a bollocking, at worst lose their job, and without any opportunity to defend themselves.

If you think an organisation is being let down by its staff, by all means raise it through the proper channels. At least that way you give the target of your wrath the right of reply. If you don’t think whatever it is that bugs you is worthy of your time and energy in making a complaint, then sure, drop a quick – general – tweet to the company – they’ll probably value your feedback.

But don’t be a bully. Because if you indulge in throwaway ‘naming and shaming’ that’s what you are.

Here endeth my Ranty Friday lesson.

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17 thoughts on “On naming and shaming

  1. I am with you on this. I do agree that we should discuss matters with the companies, after all they are on Twitter and do have customer service teams on hand on twitter to deal with complaints but there are ways of doing it.

    @ the beginning of the tweet so only your mutual followers will see it for a start. Not at the end of the tweet so ALL your followers see it. And then be polite. @tesco had a really bad experience today, who do I speak to?

    Rather than the “Miserable sod in @tesco today packing my bag, really want to punch him”.

    Social media should be social. And polite. I think people now think that because we are behind a screen we can be rude. And I disagree.

    Manners cost nothing. And do people really think they are going to get a positive resolution to an abusive tweet?

    Great post. thanks for linking to mine.

  2. This is a really great point you make. I’m guilty of having a go at companies on Twitter, BT for one who I’ve since left, but I can’t recall ever having named anyone personally. I think that’s crossing the line somewhat. I had an issue with BlackBerry recently and they obviously preferred to keep my complaint discreet when they insisted on DMs rather than public tweeting! However, I don’t listen to companies who can’t treat their customers with respect. They deserve to be outed in public. Though, like you say, it is pretty horrid to actually name a person directly. At the end of the day, the whole company is at fault because they obviously aren’t spending enough money on training their staff to offer a good enough customer service.

    CJ x
    Crystal Jigsaw recently posted…Back to the FutureMy Profile

  3. SO with you on this. I’ve had an appalling experience with a certain retailer very recently which still remains unresolved, and as easy as it’d be to get on my high horse and complain to everyone and their bloody dog, I don’t see how I can retain the moral high ground once I’ve gone down that road. What ever happened to the traditional snotty letter or even, if we’re getting all fancypants, email? Have we lost the art of complaining?! FAB post missus 🙂
    MummyNeverSleeps recently posted…The F WordMy Profile

  4. I agree with you here, and I have actively been trying to do the opposite by tweeting instances where I have received good customer service and saying a thank you. Ive also done this face to face in stores such as telling customer services desk in Sainsburys that the checkout operator that served me at checkout ten is one of the politest and most friendly checkout operators ive ever met. I think people should praise good work and service as that gives a boost to the person and encourages them to keep going with their brilliant work.

    We live in such a negative world at times. I just feel its doing my bit to show that we are not all moaners.

    I blogged about this ages ago. Glad you have raised it again.

    Karen x
    woman Wife and mum recently posted…Asda Extra Special Cabinet Sauvignon – ReviewMy Profile

  5. Agreed. This kind of thing annoys the hell out of me.

    A real abuse of the system, and a bit of passive-aggressive arrogance. The social media equivalent of raising your voice when complaining in the hope that the brand/shop/service will do anything to stop you disturbing their other customers. And also it shows that you believe that your online influence is so great that the brand will be terrified that it’s an “open” tweet. In reality, unless you’re Stephen Fry, you have almost zero clout.
    Neil Cocker recently posted…A Raspberry Pi for every schoolchild in Wales?My Profile

  6. Whole heartedly agree with you on this. Although, I must admit I have been guilty of it once. When I first got Sky installed the regional news wasn’t my region at all. I used their on-line live chat service and was told that it wasn’t possible to resolve. So I tweeted something like “As much as I have liked the service so far I find it odd that @skytv cannot give me regional news for MY region”. One follower tweeted that it wasn’t their fault and a couple asked if it was on my “extra” channels (it wasn’t). Sky then responded and gave me a number to their tech help and it was sorted.

    I think social media and the power it has (in the sense it’s instant updates) is definitely a force for good on so many occasions but I actually find it rather pathetic that people take to twitter to complain about someone looking unhappy; we ALL have bad days and yes, I am speaking as someone who has worked in customer-facing roles.
    Mummy Glitzer recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

    1. It’s not so much the naming the companies – I’ve done that myself after a particularly infuriating experience – it’s adding in the personal names that I find so awful. And like you say, some Twitter grumbles aren’t worth the 140 characters they’re written in!

  7. You make a lot of good points here. What gets me about the public naming and shaming is that it’s not all that constructive. When I’ve received what I’ve seen as unacceptably bad customer service, I normally contact the relevant store’s customer service line or e-mail the customer service department. It’s normally possible to find those details in about the same amount of time as it takes to do a ‘name and shame’ tweet. When you contact the customer service team, quite often something gets done about the issue. I doubt that often happens as a result of letting off steam in a way that publicly names individual members of staff on Twitter.
    Jonathan recently posted…Parenting clubs shouldn’t just be for mumsMy Profile

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