Pub chain JD Wetherspoon will face “negative repercussions” for “ignoring” customers by shutting down their social media channels, it has been warned.
The company ran over 900 accounts on platforms including Twitter and Facebook, and has said the decision on Monday morning was taken over concerns the accounts were being used to troll MPs.
The staunchly pro-Brexit brand announced the move in a now-deleted tweet by Chairman Tim Martin, who wrote: “We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business. I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever, and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers.”
However, the move has been criticised by Customer Experience experts Medallia, whose VP EMEA Sean Farrington, said:
“Social media represents a way for people to share their views and opinions on anything and everything. In the world of commerce, to close the door on this vital channel and ignore the very powerful voice of the customer, is a highly risky strategy.
When used well social media acts as an additional earpiece for brands, enabling them to get insight into what their customers like and don’t like. It provides a platform to engage with customers in a positive way. It allows brands to hear the stories behind customers experiences and to proactively make changes to enhance them. Indeed, Medallia’s research* of the hospitality sector has found engaging with social media reviews boosts a company’s bottom line.
Love it or loathe it, social media is a part of our world now. We live in a 24/7 always on society that loves to share and loves to voice their opinions. Blocking access to a tool such as this could have negative repercussions for a brand, something Wetherspoons might find out quicker than they’d like.”