Complain Media: The not so social thing about social media

After an hour and a half of driving in the uncharacteristic northern heat, we arrived in Blackpool. The wrong end of Blackpool that is, as my Sat Nav seemed to think that the Blackpool Pleasure Beach was around a mile inland from the North Pier when in fact it is apparently about a 30 minute tram journey in the other direction, on the coast by the South Pier. To say I was a little narked off would be an understatement. Still, it was a Saturday and there was not a cloud in the blue sky and so I was prepared to be pleasured at the Pleasure Beach. After a queue that is. A queue that lasted one hour fifteen minutes. 1.15 hours. ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES! It lasted a tray of chips, about 13 loops of the Pleasure Beach CD, a approximately 3 hen parties and at least 5 facial tattoos.

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We had paid for our ticket online and in advance. Why? Because we’re modern cosmopolitan young people who thought it was the thing to do, pay in advance, so ya don’t queue at the box office when you arrive. Champion. 

Apparently Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a little more backward than I had anticipated. Despite the fact that we had paid in advance, we had to join the mammoth queue that started outside, then split in two, one arm snaking around the outside of the box-office building and in again and the other into the building, back out at the other end and the into another building, before you were allowed the option to join the other queue because your queue apparently only had 3 operatives working it and the other had around 18. Unbelievable.

So, my point? I was hacked off and what did I do, I tweeted. I would never have bothered to contact Pleasure Beach’s official complaints line, or write them an email because, I can’t be arsed, I wasn’t being beaten by a roller-coaster steward or anything and I’m not going to go back there anyway. But Twitter is just so darn easy and I could do it from the queue I was stuck in! 

Now, I actually didn’t tweet any expletives and I wasn’t prolific in voicing my disgust at this blatant lack of organisation. Why? Because I work in marketing and social media and I know what it’s like to deal with this sh*t when you’re not trained customer services personnel. Still, I tweeted nonetheless because, really, I mean really, it just wasn’t on. Yes it was a nice day, yes lots of people had bought online and yes we’d all saved a tenner in doing so but, ya know what, so what? Why didn’t we arrive, punch a redemption code into a machine and get our tickets spat out at us like one does at a train station. Anyway, social media is a place to be social, it’s where our internet selves live and talk in hashtags to each other and so it’s only natural to assume that I would turn to social media for things other than #xfactor, things that get on my nerves. But are the brands, retailers, businesses we’re annoyed at ready for it?

The options currently presented the disgruntled consumer: call a customer support team and get stuck on hold, email a customer support address and get ignored or Tweet a complaint and get a response fired back from a marketing executive who is desperate to not start a fight on Facebook because that would be a pretty shitty thing to have to discuss in their annual review. I chose the latter, obviously.

Brands and retailers with or without presence on social media need to bridge the gap between marketing and customer service. Social media is about talking with your customer base, on their terms, in their space. You can promote all you want and you can engage all you can, but when the shit hits the fan, have a strategy in place to deal with it and have customer service and Customer Services at the heart of this response. 

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Some brands are terrific at this, @ASOS_HereToHelp is one fine example of a customer services mechanic using social media to make a consumer’s journey more satisfactory. @ManAirport are another and there are others, but there are also many many examples where the brands fall short.

Where does Blackpool Pleasure Beach sit amongst this scale? They weren’t half bad tell you the truth, but that queue was too bitching to be repeated, so long Pleasure Beach.

: In mammoth queue to get into , and the point of buying in advance was??

@jordanjmcdowell Remember you saved a huge amount on your wristbands (£20 instead of £29.99) and we’re open later until 9pm tonight! 🙂 

: @Pleasure_Beach well, it’s end of season, that’s why we saved. Queue management is still appalling.

@jordanjmcdowell Season in Blackpool doesn’t end until the end of the Illuminations on November 10th.

: @Pleasure_Beach as admirable as it is to receive response over the w/kend, arguing with customers is neither cute nor helpful.

Or perhaps I’m just one of those narky tits?


#FNO Manchester schedule announced

As you’ll have all seen, the British Vogue Fashion’s Night Out Manchester 2013 schedule of frivolity has been announced. A ever-so-slightly clunky interactive map on unveils all the stores jumping on-board the biggest night out in fashion this year.

I could pick out the best events of the night for you. But, ma home girl Moyo has done the hard work for me.

Click to read the best of the line-up at Body Confidential.


Adidas Originals Manchester Sunglasses: SS14 Roof Terrace Party

Adidas Originals is the fashionista’s Adidas brand, a little bit more swish and a little bit more chic. Wrap-around sunnies for Ski season and trainers with a little more kick, this is sport wear I can get on board with.

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Roof terrace at Great John Street Hotel

Adidas Originals hosted a charming End of Summer soiree at atop the Great John Street Hotel roof terrace in Manchester last week. We sipped bubbles and wine whilst being introduced to the SS14 eyewear collections (no, that’s not a typo, we really are talking SS14 already).

As well as customisable frames and a gimmicky iPad magical mirror app, Adidas Originals pulled it out the bag with a pair of sunnies named after my fair city, Manchester.

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Manchester Sunglasses, Adidas Originals, £120.00

Smelling a PR stunt, I asked which other UK cities had been sunglassyfied, to which the lovely PR replied, none, just Montreal and Toronto. So, why did they choose Manchester? Well, Manchester’s affinity with sportswear and sports-luxe fashions goes back to the Madchester years with Bez and the Gallagher’s would wear Adidas, Gola, Diadora et al on stage with a more polished air (kinda) than one would usually evoke whilst in a tracksuit at the gym. The sunnies take Manchester’s sports fashion history, architecture and general style into consideration and, do you know what, I quite like them.

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Manchester Sunglasses, Adidas Originals, £120.00

The sunnies come with a detachable bridge, a rubber piece that can be worn with the Adidas logo on show, in reverse or without, showing the double metal bridge for a more expensive look.

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I was impressed ladies and gents.


AW13 Look Book: Ghetto Fabuous

It’s finally Autumn/Winter (kinda) and I’ve celebrated by watching The September Issue (again) whilst ironing and I’m currently reading Grace A Memoir by Grace Coddington, her musings and an irresistible insight into a world of smoky, fabulous, European, jet-set, vintage-age fashion, long since forgotten. More on that when I’ve finished!

Now, let’s talk more about me, yeah? 

A while back I gave my verdict of LCM: AW13 shows (read here) and I was leaning more towards a minimalistic, quality over quantity approach. That’s all well and good, but I’ve since been seduced by the ghetto fabulous print-mania that is seeping through the high street and from high-end designers like James Long. Fickle, moi?

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Jacket, Taxonomy, TOPMAN, £70.00
Tee, Samsoe & Samsoe, TK Maxx, £10.00
Jeans, Next, £25.00
Necklace, Urban Outfitters, Gift
Shoes, Cross Hatch, TK Maxx, £12.00
Hat, State Property, River Island, £7 SALE

I adored this jacket since the moment I saw it. I was at the press launch of the new TOPMAN store in Manchester Arndale and it was the first time (I believe) that Taxonomy had been included in the North West TOPMAN collections. It’s such a gorgeous print and gives a touch of sports luxe to any outfit. I’d usually style this with tighter jeans but I thought drop-crotch was more fun for this look.

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A really cool necklace, a birthday gift from a dear friend, that sets the whole look off.

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An object of intrigue for many who know me personally, because they all consider this item something they’d never expect me to own, let alone wear. However. I’ve been looking for just the right hat for a while since I’m going to need one for my holidays to Disney World (I know, exciting!) I wanted to make a statement with is, like, “yeah, I know I don’t do hats, so when I do do hats, I do it right, yagetme?” Think it works?
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Totes Tie Die: Aztekkers printed tees

I do love it when fashion can make me think and/or rethink.

Aztekkers is a little known unisex tee brand and brainchild of Central Saint Martin’s graduate Lucy Peart and her boyfriend Sam Parker. The pair design quirky inoffensive graphic tees with vivid, trippy tie dye fabrics.

I’m not into tie dye as such. My other half loves it, but I’ve always considered hippy-trippy a little, well, unfashionable (for me anyway). However, readers will know, I’m all over print this season and the way Aztekkers style their tie-dye is more ghetto than Glasto, that’s something I can get on-board with.

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There’s something about these tees, when styled on these guys, that stops them being cutesy cuddly and makes them a little rougher, a little more right now.
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Shop Aztekkers tees from £15 now, online here.