As you have likely seen, heard, read or maybe even tweeted using the #LillyForTarget hashtag, yourself, Lilly Pulitzer sold out nationally at Target on Sunday in just two hours. It was pure pandemonium in the stores and Target.com, as pieces from the collection flew off the physical and virtual shelves. However, because the website kept crashing and there wasn’t enough product to support demand, consumers were vehemently making their complaints known on social.
Folke Lematire, CEO and founder of Engagor, the most comprehensive platform for real-time customer engagement, social media monitoring and analytics, would like to weigh in with thoughts about how Target handled the influx of complaints and concerns on Twitter and Facebook. Please find his thoughts below and let me know if this might be helpful for anything you’re working on.
Insight from Folke shows – Target’s response time to consumers
Some tweets received a reply in around 45 minutes. However, in most cases, Target took a few hours to respond to messages, which Engagor has found in the past to be somewhat common for the brand. This only leaves customers frustrated when they are trying to purchase a product they are passionate about.
How Target responded
Because there was such a high, constant volume of inbound social media messages from customers, Target didn’t take the time to reply in a personable way – their responses came across very generic.
In this particular case, many customers were angry at Target for not being able to handle the excessive lines at the stores, as well as the customers desperately waiting online to purchase items. The collection launch turned into a flash sale-event, causing an outburst of questions on social media. Target was able to handle incoming messages to a certain extent, but was unable to adequately follow up on conversations once consumers started ranting about their complaints.
Overall, how Target handled the social situation
Although they may have anticipated the success of the limited clothing edition, and that it would likely result in a mass amount of people turning to social media to talk to the brand, Target wasn’t fully prepared for this large of a social media outburst or the different types of questions customers asking. Therefore, the brand was unable to handle the high volume of incoming social messages, effectively.
What Target should do next time
1) Follow up on new and existing conversations – Customers want their voice to be heard. 2) Create a social media crisis plan for different scenarios (e.g. Target’s website went down for a while) to be able to reply appropriately. 3) Train employees and social media teams to respond in a friendly, personal way. Target was far too distant when replying and didn’t show authentic concern for customers. 4) Use more powerful, targeted software, like Engagor, to keep a close eye on social response time and help divide the workload.
What are your views on the above findings?