The recent Virgin Media fiasco – whereby a customer was not only acknowledged as being deceased and charged his direct debit, but also given a late fee for the banks refusal to pay said direct debit – has served as somewhat of a warning to major corporations globally of the significance of social media and that the customer most certainly has more control than they perhaps once had.
Previously, cases such as this; of insensitivity and bungling errors, would have remained for the eyes of the corporation in question and only them. Of course, now with the rise in social media, more and more disgruntled customers are choosing to air their dirty laundry in a public forum and often to a riotous response.
Posted on Facebook by the deceased’s son, the story has already gathered close to 90,000 shares and has caused uproar:
“(Virgin Media) are to be publically commended for swooping in with all the sensitivity of a charging rhino and instantly fining an extra £10 for having the unheard of nerve to be dead and therefore being unable to pay you”, wrote Mr Boyden, son of the deceased, “You also win extra points for noticing his bank had returned his Direct Debit informing you he had passed away, then still slapping on a fine anyway.”
Virgin media have since issued a formal apology to Mr Boyden and of course withdrawn the late payment charges. However I cannot help but think that this is too little, too late.
A global brand such as Virgin lends a great deal of it’s modern day success to the Internet and it baffles me how this vast corporation has somewhat neglected their social media. For brands such as Virgin, it is intrinsic to their online portfolio that online chatter is carefully monitored and a crisis management plan put in place should the need arise.
Let this example of a social media shambles be an example. I would urge any brand worth their salt to take heed and invest some time and money in sourcing adequate CRM software. Put the preparations in place today and they’ll pay dividends tomorrow.