A wall post complaining about the cost and quality of an Odeon cinema experience that appeared on the official Odeon Facebook Page on Friday has generated an astonishing 122,468 Likes and 10,408 comments. To make matters worse, the complaint has come on the UK summer bank holiday when the Odeon’s social media team appear to have been “on holiday” and have not responded to the complaint.
The disgruntled cinema-goer left a 466 word complaint entitled “Dear Odeon” and criticised the cinema company for overpriced tickets, food and drink, lazy customer service at the refreshments kiosk and their movie being disrupted by the cinema screen next them showing The Dark Knight Rises (the films booming sound effects being audible through the walls). To round of his complaint, the Facebook user scoffed at the anti-piracy notice shown at the beginning of the film promising that the cinema experience was considerably better than a pirated download.
It follows the complaint last week about a woman being charged €300 to print out boarding passes for a Ryanair flight. That generated more than 350,000 Likes on the Ryanair Facebook Page, thousands of comments, and received national media coverage.
It is likely that the Odeon saga may go the same way. This comes as a stark reminder that poor customer service and social media can be a deadly concoction for brands if not dealt with properly. You don’t need to be a fan of the Odeon Facebook Page in order for the complaint to appear on your newsfeed, merely you just need a friend to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ for it to appear. As such, the complaint went viral over the weekend and a lack of response from Odeon only spurred on more Facebook users to vent.
In May it was revealed that 18 million UK consumers used social media as a customer service channel and 65% prefer it to the traditional call center – this is expected to rise. Whilst it is unfortunate for Odeon to be caught on the bank holiday, it doesn’t really stick as an excuse. Brands of Odeon’s size cannot continue to treat social media as a 9-5 weekday channel, it needs to be constantly monitored, measured and responded to if they are to catch any early signs of a social media crisis. Crisis management plans need to be in place before any such crises happen in order to ensure a quick response time and avoid confusion among staff around who should be doing what.
Brands cannot simply pick and choose which complaints they want to deal with and when such complaints go viral and escalate, they need to ensure they are being clearly seen to be dealing with it.