One Step Ahead Appeases Facebook Backlash Over Acquisition

Jun 26, 2013 1:41 PM  By

Comments questioning your customer service, your business ethics, and your inability to complete orders are not what you want to see on your Facebook page. In fact, it could ruin brand engagement and customer trust.

It can be avoided however, just as long as you have the right person in charge of your social media team. Take for example what happened after children’s retailer One Step Ahead announced they were closing down fulfillment operations temporarily.

On May 31, the retailer posted a status update stating it was “transitioning operations to join the family of Colony Brands” and that they would be “ready to process new orders again soon.”  The retailer then told customers who had any questions about future or pending orders to contact customer service, supplying an email address and a phone number.

Then the backlash started.

One follower of One Step Ahead wrote in response to the post, “What horrible customer service… If this is the level of customer service to now be expected, I will not be doing business with you or any of your associated companies. Thanks for nothing!”

And then another comment, “Disappointed that you wouldn’t notify your customers that all previous orders were cancelled due to the change! VERY DISAPPOINTED AND WILL THINK AGAIN BEFORE ORDERING FROM HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Soon there were 31 active conversations on the original wall post between customers with questions, comments or concerns and the Facebook book team at One Step Ahead. The retailer then issued another post a few days later apologizing the delay in service, thanking customers for their understanding, and notifying them that all orders will be resumed on July 31.

“The responsibility of making sure you gets exactly what you order, when you expect it is something we don’t take lightly,” the post said.

That post, which was written on June 12, spurred over 45 active comments from a majority of angry shoppers questioned why the delay in service was going to take about twp months.

“Good grief… why so long?” one Facebooker posted, while another said “End of July? sorry you’ve lost a customer.”

And then roughly a month after the original post was made, One Step Ahead’s self-appointed “Facebook Guy” Jason apologized for the lack of communication. In a post written on June 24, Jason wrote, “Since we announced our plan to temporarily stop taking orders you’ve made it clear that, from a customer’s perspective, we’ve made a misstep.”

“We understand that we’ve disappointed you and we’re truly sorry. I…am very sorry. This job is important to me. One Step Ahead is important to me and this community is very important to me,” he wrote.

But Jason took the Facebook status further, and offered a personal insight to himself, his home life, and why he believes in One Step Ahead. Jason divulged to the brands fans that he was about to become of father of twins.

He then explained, in a heartfelt manner that they brand understood the shoppers frustrations but asked them to bear with them along the way.

“From the outside, I know it looks like making a mess of things. But from our perspective it’s sort of like moving into a new home. It is messy and it is all consuming, but it’s all about looking toward the future. This process is about making sure that One Step Ahead is in the right situation to handle all of your needs. Not just when we reopen in July, but for years to come,” he wrote.

The personalization of the post seemed to changed things around, while a few people still questioned the delayed ordering time, many of the comments were congratulating Jason on the twins and commending him for speaking so candidly with the brand.

Facebook Guy Jason might have just saved the brand.

  • annonymous

    Too bad so many people lost their jobs though

  • Annonymous123

    @ annonymous, It is a shame, I do believe they are keeping some people where they were. I’m excited to start working with OSA, it seems like a great catalog with some wonderful customers. I wish people understood what all Colony Brands has to do to get it operational with their system though… it is a LOT of work. People don’t seem to understand how much they have to do; that they have to make new item #’s, program those into their system, move things to a different warehouse & organize it and so forth. Colony Brands does have great people who do care about their customers so if any OSA shoppers see this, we will be ready to do our best to help you with any problems & so forth. Jason’s post was awesome, I was glad he wrote it. Also, I know 2 months is a long time to wait, but it is better to come back ready then have an even larger mess on everyone’s hands. Gives time for people to be trained for the new businesses & for IT to make sure it’s running smoothly!