Hens Pecked

Hens Pecked

03 March 2015 | Pic PR

What could have possibly caused one of Manchester’s most ‘upmarket’ restaurants to have deleted all social media accounts, and so abruptly?

47 King Street West’s Twitter page, which was reportedly visible at 7am yesterday morning has now vanished; along with its Facebook page – the scene of a customer service crime!

The ‘fine dining’ restaurant, which prides itself on providing first class customer service found itself in an online review row. A row that saw 47 King Street West’s Facebook page unleash a vicious tirade of abuse at a stunned customer.

Heated online exchanges are far from uncommon, and in some instances the publicity gained from such outbursts can outweigh the issue in the first place. But when it’s a service provider against a customer? It can quickly get out of hand and lead to all sorts of ramifications.

It goes without saying that bride-to-be Melissa Grogan-Morgan, 27, was left stunned after the restaurant branded her party as “The chaviest worst most vile people ever to grace our restaurant” in public, on social media, for all to see.

Grogan-Morgan had been celebrating her hen party with 17 other friends and family members the evening prior to the flood of abuse. Although they enjoyed the food, they were left disappointed with the service that was provided – and there is nothing worse than bad customer service.

The morning after, Grogan-Morgan took to 47 King Street West’s Facebook page to complain. From personal experience complaining on social media gets you a quicker response – and normally a more satisfying response too. Customers are turning to the unfiltered, unbiased, third party views and opinions of others instead of the organisation itself. Social media has given customers a platform to either espouse or reject an organisation’s products or services, which mean it’s now more important than ever to keep them satisfied.

Grogan-Morgan complained that her party was split between two separate tables, fresh starters could not be arranged for friends arriving late and the ‘terrible attitude’ of the manager. She claimed that they’d informed the restaurant beforehand about the size of the party, so it would seem that they’re all reasonable complaints.

It is fair to say though that Grogan-Morgan was definitely not expecting the reaction she got when the restaurant replied soon after. The mystery 47 King Street West employee behind the Facebook account certainly gave a lesson in how not to talk to a customer – branding the hen party “ugly” and “cheap chav trash”, even stooping to say “we pity the groom”.

The restaurant certainly got its message across, that message being; don’t complain at 47 King Street West.

The online altercation has caused a social media storm with many people unable to believe that someone working in customer service and hospitality could react that way. It is yet to be confirmed who was behind the abuse and it would be interesting to hear their thought processes behind the personal ‘attack’. Did they not realise that their responses were public, and therefore viewable to everyone? Such controversy can be massively detrimental to your brand, your business and of course your reputation, which is something that the restaurant appears to have realised a little too late, hence the deletion of its social accounts. It smacks a little of ‘shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted’…

Without knowing the full story it is difficult to understand the motives behind such an uncompromising response. Perhaps the customer/customers were as bad as they’ve said? After all, there’s always two sides to every story. Despite this though, throwing abuse at customers is obviously wrong, and never the answer. A business has the right to defend itself on social media, but it needs to bear in mind the possible consequences of behaving in an inappropriate manner if it chooses to do so.

Whatever the reasons behind it, I think it can be agreed that the attack in this instance crossed the line. Whether or not this was PR type stunt is unknown, but wanting to be known for bad customer service surely isn’t a good thing? It must be realised that social media has levelled the playing field between brands and the customer – businesses that provide the best and most authentic customer service are ‘winning’ and those that do not satisfy are falling behind…especially if they call their clientele ‘vile’ and ‘chavs’!