Did M1 fail to address consumers' iPhone social media rage?

Last Friday M1 released to the public its prices for the latest Apple smartphones and opened the gates for pre-orders for the devices.

However, according to reports on Today, following the opening of the pre-order page, due to high traffic, customers faced difficulty in accessing the site. Many of M1’s consumers took to Facebook to  air their complaints.

While a common issue for websites, did M1's handling of the complaints exacerbate the issue?

At the time of writing, M1 did not respond to Marketing’s queries on whether or not the incident would hamper its sales and what preventive measures were being taken by the telco to avoid a similar incident in the future.  An M1 spokesperson simply guided Marketing to its page where a statement was posted by the telco reading:

"Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are continuing to experience high traffic and are working to improve the situation."

A quick check on its Facebook site also showed that it was in fact M1’s customers who were helping to answer queries for each other. No M1 staff has publicly issued any statements to address the thread of on-going comments.

One M1 customer Chong Desmond said that it was not only the heavy traffic but rather, once a customer “beats the traffic and manages to enter into the pre-ordering page to submit details” they will still “meet with other obstacles” such as errors or bugs.

“It will kick you out after sometime and you have to start the queue all over again. Thus, it is a combination of all these factors that made a lot of us spend three fruitless days and now we have to endure the sad news that all phones are running out of stock,” said Chong.

Another Alan Lim said today morning: "Till now you are still working on the situation? For those who failed to pre-order from your website you are expecting us to queue overnight on the 20th? What a joke. SingTel and StarHub are laughing now!"

In an earlier article, Marcus Ho director of social media of SocialMetric said when handled well, social media crisis can minimise the damage costs and negative feedback is often an opportunity to turn complainers to great brand advocates. He added that about 42% of complainers expect a response within 60 minutes and more than two third expect an answer within the day.

“To businesses, it may seem impossible to do so, as they need to investigate the issue before replying. However, most of them do not expect the issue to be solved immediately. What they want was for you to understand how they feel. Therefore, it is important to reply first before you investigate,” said Ho.

Through apologising, brands are able demonstrating empathy, and 90% of the angry customers just want brands to first empathise with them, and proceed to resolve their problems, explained Ho.