25 February 2013 - 9:04am | posted by | 15 comments

Next raises Twitter hackles after demanding removal of offensive tweet

Next raises Twitter hackles after demanding removal of offensive tweetNext raises Twitter hackles after demanding removal of offensive tweet

Fashion retailer Next has got itself into a spot of bother online after a heavy-handed social media manager demanded that an individual delete a tweet relating to a late order.

Instead of dealing with the issue @NextHelp ordered @Ox_Bex to remove the tweet ,despite the fact that it didn’t even mention their official account, just ‘Next’, and nor did it incorporate a hashtag.

The offensive tweet read: ‘Fucking Next wankers! It's a pissing Sunday you bastards & I've wasted four fecking hours for a delivery you forgot to tell me isn't coming.’

@nextofficial then responded: “@Ox_Bex Hi BC, we kindly ask you to remove your original tweet as the language used may offend other readers.Instead, please DM at @NextHelp.”

Unruffled @Ox_bex refused to comply but did retweet the complaint with amended language.

One nonplussed observer, @JayGreasley, waded in saying: "@nextofficial I was not offended by @ox_bex swearing but I am offended by your attitude to customers @nexthelp"

Next has said: "We’re really embarrassed, this isn’t how we usually handle complaints, we welcome all customer feedback and will ensure this doesn’t happen again."

In reaction, Dominic Hiatt, CEO of Just In Time PR, commented: "Just what on earth was Next's social media team thinking? To ask someone to delete a tweet simply because it mentions your brand borders on megalomania. On Twitter people will criticise brands just as they do down the pub and from time to time this will happen with colourful language. By trying to control their reputation on Twitter like a school ma'am, Next has lost control altogether. This is a super example of how not to do social."

Comments

25 Feb 2013 - 11:01
amand12384's picture

Why is it these days that people feel it is acceptable to use whatever language they like, wherever & whenever? Others offten find it offensive. At least Next seem to have some standards.

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25 Feb 2013 - 11:18
tobin14110's picture

@Dominic Hiatt for as many who are not offended by that kind of unnecessary language there will be as many who are. Everyone has a responsibility to exercise some control over how they express themselves and we have all seen the consequences of when others loose control and express themselves too much on social media. I support @nexthelp. They gave Ox_bex the opportunity to continue their complaint just not in front of everyone else. Down the pub the equivalent scenario would be for Ox_bex to stand on a bar stool and yell at the top of their voice the complaint about the pub using the same colourful language. The bar manager would probably ask Ox_bex to get down off the stool and keep it down and air any complaints they might have to the manager. If it was done again, they might be asked to leave or encouraged to go to the office to discuss things further as they have their other customers to think about. An action that the other customers in the pub would have likely supported. This is all @nexthelp did.

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25 Feb 2013 - 12:30
domin61845's picture

@tobin14110 This isn't really about the language at all. This is all about a brand trying to control what's being said about them online, which is absurd. The language, in fact, is irrelevant, whatever we think about it. The fact that Next weren't even hashtagged or their Twitter account mentioned in the tweet makes it even more absurd.

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25 Feb 2013 - 11:29
themr19839's picture

I think Next is being a rather prissy. Who do they think they are? Here's a customer expressing vexation at their failed delivery and they're going al censorious on them. Not only is it poor customer service, it's bossy and rude.

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25 Feb 2013 - 14:23
Callum90's picture

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25 Feb 2013 - 14:12
tobin14110's picture

@Domin61845 I guess it's how you view it. If social media is seen as the speakers corner for all opinion, however it is expressed, then who are Next to try and police it for their own ends? Who are any brand, for that matter, which appears to be your line? Apologies if I have read that wrongly.

Personally, I do have an issue with the language but agree with you, that it is not the point. The point for me is that Next were monitoring their mentions, as any responsible brand should do, and merely told Ox_bex to get down off her stool and come and discuss her complaint in the back office. A reasonable request in the circumstances and what any responsible customer services manager would wish to do.

If we, on the other hand set up any complainant on social media, hashtagged or not, as the evangelist fighting for good against the evil brands wishing to subdue and crush their voice, we have to be ready to live with the resulting entity that this will likely create. A very difficult and unwieldy type of customer who will gradually grow in confidence to demand more and more to the point where reasonable becomes unreasonable. As any parent will know when managing a child who has grown too accustomed to getting their own way.

I'm not suggesting that Ox_bex didn't have a legitimate complaint or that it shouldn't be aired on social media or that Next shouldn't be dealing with it and putting it right, but I believe it was dealt with in a reasonable manner. Not by a brand intent on crushing the voice of righteousness and giving anyone else the impression that if they dared make a comment against it, they will be on the red carpet outside the headmaster's study forthwith. Or, for that matter, telling them to come inside, hoping no-one else will notice, because we don't want to ruin our lovely reputation now do we? I should add that I have absolutely no connection with Next at all, merely putting my point of view.

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25 Feb 2013 - 14:29
humdrum's picture

The Tweet merely said the word Next in it, it didn't contain a hashtag or mention their official account, therefore they cannot control what she Tweets. That is almost as absurd as tobin14110's analogy of Tweeting being the same as standing on a bar stool and shouting. Ridiculous, Next clearly don't understand Twitter. Question is, will they try to make me remove this post?

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25 Feb 2013 - 14:35
tobin14110's picture

OK humdrum, open to understand why my analogy is absurd...

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25 Feb 2013 - 15:34
humdrum's picture

I mean, it's obvious isn't it? How is writing a statement on a Twitter page similar to shouting in a pub? First of all, I can choose not to read a Tweet, I have no control over someone shouting. Secondly, she wrote it on her own page, not on Next's. So your analogy may have been more accurate if you had compared it to standing on a sofa in your living room and criticising a pub, but it is still a stretch. She is not forcing her Tweet onto others, she isn't invading someone's premises, she is only affecting people who choose to be affected. I should not have to be explaining this to you. I didn't mean to offend, but maybe try to be less dramatic next time. If you have someone you don't want reading bad words, don't let them on Twitter, there are much worse things floating around, and they aren't hard to find.

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25 Feb 2013 - 16:17
Ox_Bex's picture

The sweary post was made without @ mentioning the company involved, it was only when I tweeted them directly that they got prissy about my language. The only people who would have seen the original sweary tweet would have been my followers who are perfectly aware that I do swear on occasion and when I do, it's generally warranted. And to be honest, having spent over four hours in my office waiting for a delivery which they didn't have the courtesy to tell me was on it's way back to the depot, I was pretty restrained. I wouldn't dream of standing on a stool in a pub using this language but as I said earlier, it was to a small audience. If Next hadn't asked me to remove all my tweets mentioning them then it's highly likely nothing more would have happened and it would have fizzled away. Bus asking me to take it down on a boring Sunday afternoon, escalated it! Give Next their due, they've now apologised to me and to everyone who retweeted or made a comment to them. Hopefully now they will start to deal with the many other people who also had legitimate complaints about missing deliveries, damaged items, failed collections etc.

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25 Feb 2013 - 16:33
tobin14110's picture

Not offended, was genuinely interested. OK so in a pub I am amongst my friends or colleagues (this originates from the analogy from Damian suggesting people will criticise brands down the pub) equivalent to my Twitter page followers. The people in the pub outside of my immediate circle of friends, are equivalent to anyone else who can search or view whatever I put on my Twitter page. They may not be looking for it, or be interested in it but it may come up when they search for Next, for example. Indeed, the people in my close circle may not even be listening to my rant so may not hear it in the pub, as they wouldn't if they weren't looking at my Twitter page but ultimately they will see it in my feed.

What's said down the pub may stick for a while but generally fades from the memory especially if there are a few beers involved. Indeed what's said standing on your sofa in your living room can only be heard and therefore remembered by anyone within earshot and that is likely to be only a few unless you are having a big party.

The difference on Social Media is it's there in writing and it stays there, searchable for as long as that server preserves it in its memory, long after the irritation has past and the problem has been sorted and therefore the context of the issue is lost. For anyone who puts anything on social media they need to keep this in mind - photos, comments, rants, whatever.

A brand should be acutely aware of this. As should we all. Stuff we say or photos we think are funny/interesting/annoying in the here and now are not, or look out of context, or may say the wrong thing about us in a weeks time, years time or whenever down the line. Conversations in the real world move on and are generally forgotten. Social media posts are not. They stay and are searchable.

Now no responsible brand should want to hide its faults, but when you have a post such as that occur, you don't want more of it, you want to calm the situation, find out just what the problem is and sort it. Rather do that on DM, than have more bad language posted where it stays in perpetuity associated with Next, but soon to be out of context. Who knows whether she has a legitimate complaint or not. Only Next does. When people are angry they are unpredictable and say things they may later regret. It's not as if the post was: 'I'm really disappointed in Next as I've waited in for for hours for a delivery that never came and no one told me it wasn't coming.' It was loud by it's language, arsey and aggressive.

The same could be said of the person shouting in the pub as far as the publican is concerned. He doesn't want the situation to escalate, he sees they are angry and therefore unpredictable and he does want to sort the problem out. So take it in the back room and deal with it quietly.

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25 Feb 2013 - 16:54
tobin14110's picture

@Ox_Bex. Glad you did get it sorted in the end and they apologised. I wouldn't support asking you to take down all your posts mentioning them after the event. I would support trying to contain the situation in a reasonable manner at the very start of your complaint.

@humdrum another reason that it wasn't just to a small audience on a Twitter page or your equivalent to standing on your sofa in your living room, was that it was clearly re-tweeted and may well have been retweeted umpteen times. Forget the stool in a pub and replace with a national 96 sheet campaign

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25 Feb 2013 - 17:10
humdrum's picture

This is insane. The only reason the post got widespread coverage is because Next acted upon it. Her Tweet would have been seen by however many followers she has, and then faded into obscurity. It would not have been 'retweeted umpteen times' because it was a harmless, personal Tweet between her and her friends. Next are the reason this spiralled. Millions of people speak negatively about brands on Twitter everyday and that goes unnoticed or hopefully, the brand does something to resolve the situation. If Next had acted professionally and compassionately (as they eventually did) then I'm sure she would have either removed the Tweet or sent another saying how well they treated her.

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25 Feb 2013 - 17:24
tobin14110's picture

Harmless today...live ammunition tomorrow. Anyway, I am reacting to the way the article at the top of this thread portrays the incident. If it's different to that then Next could be at fault. I can only comment on what I see. It looks from the article, that the one tweet as quoted above was spotted by Next, they asked her to take it down due to the language and speak on DM, she refused, changed the language and retweeted.

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25 Feb 2013 - 20:27
domin61845's picture

Can we stop talking about pubs, please? It's driving me to drink.

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