WORN STORIES: What tweets about carpets tells you about WH Smith

3488574676_8164da6c68_bFor a while now the line between digital and boundaries have been blurring.

Job descriptions we used to have don’t hold up anymore. There used to be a dedicated customer services team but as Eddie Coates-Madden has said on many occasions we’re all now customer services now.

Why? Because once you start to use digital channels you open a door to anew world. It’s one where people can talk back to you, ask questions, be snarky, be nice and to ask why haven’t the bins gone out.

Customer services on Twitter really fascinates me. For the first 18 months using @walsallcouncil I was it. When I asked for Christmas Day dinner to be postponed for 10 minutes because we were going out gritting and I had to tweet it I kind of new I was probably in too deep.

There is a rather fascinating new Twitter that has sprung out of leftfield. It’s called @whs_carpet and it tweets pictures of carpets in WH Smiths branches across the country.

How niche! I hear you say. You’d be right. But what this does is actually shine a light on the customer services and priorities of this High Street and train station shop for newspapers, books, pens and bars of chocolate for a pound.

It’s also really quite fascinating.

What it says in a very subtle way is say that if the shop can’t be bothered about the state of the floor, what does it say about how it treats its staff and its customers?

Or more directly, the impression you get from the stream is (parental advisory required)

But Dan, this is supposed to be a blog about comms and social media? Yes, it is. But we’re all customer services now, remember? Besides, I’d love to see how the WM Smiths comms team – and customer service – address it. Right now, it’s an elephant in the room and no-one from the organisation, as they say, has been available to talk about the biscuit crumbs in Brighton, the worn vinyl in Hitchin or the growing stain on the company’s reputation.


You can also read Stefan Czerniawski’s post on poorly handled online customer service complaints here.



Creative commons credit

WH Smith http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary/3488574676/sizes/l/

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  1. I can tell you from first hand experience that you’re spot on about care to staff and customers: it doesn’t exist, and they don’t care about it one little bit. More customers need to let their feelings known but NOT to the poor, hassled, badly paid, overworked, and overheated staff, many of whom are hard working. Go straight to the top.

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