Sassy or Offensive? When Brand Twitter Crosses the Line in Customer Service

Hopefully Juvia's Place can make up with the customer.


By Raquel Guarino

In 2019, brands became a lot more comfortable in their online presence. Whether it was MoonPie's tweets pleading for NASA to bring the treat to the moon or Popeyes' chicken sandwich feud with Chick-fil-A, brands being outrageous on social media became the new normal.

When big name companies started to get more personal and silly, larger audiences came flocking. The Tumblresque form of talking, the use of memes, and brands' willingness to engage playfully with their followers was a recipe for success for most. People followed not to be informed but to be entertained.

Source: Twitter

Some, however, argue brands are taking it too far. In a Reddit post that went viral, a customer of Juvia's Place, a makeup brand founded on inclusivity, says they were shocked by the way the company responded after inquiring about a missing package. Juvia's Place replied: 'Sis you definitely need that makeup to coverup you.'

Source: Instagram

On top of the strange grammar and syntax of the reply, some say this manner of speaking to customers is symptomatic of the way companies are branding themselves on Twitter. Yet there are a few strong differences between Juvia's Place and most sassy brands' behavior.

Insults

While both Juvia's Place and sassy brands deliver insults, the latter makes self-deprecating jokes or takes aim at competitors; followers know brands are being lighthearted. In contrast, Juvia's Place's negative comment was directed at the customer and their appearance—two things the makeup company claims to care about.

Private vs. Public

In addition, sassy brands have no shame in making ridiculous statements public; being outrageous is part of their marketing. These brands calculate the risks, understand most people won't be offended, and therefore don't worry about isolating their customers in the process. Conversely, Juvia's Place made its comment in private where they believed only the customer would see it. Unfortunately for them, their private insult went viral on Instagram and Reddit.

Intention

The problem with Juvia's Place is that instead of being accountable when a customer was unhappy, they got defensive. Sassy brands on Twitter know they will be teased by their followers. These brands enjoy the banter because it establishes rapport and a sense of camaraderie. Being sassy means having a personality, and people feel sentimental towards brands that remind them of their friends.

 

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