An Australian body wash company has shown how humour can be used to diffuse awkward situations after a customer wrote on its Facebook page that he felt a “light burning” on his genitals after using one of their products.
The customer’s original post has gone viral overnight, snapping up more than 22,000 likes and close to 3000 shares on the social network.
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“After buying a bottle of your mint and tea tree body wash I began to wash my private parts,” the customer wrote.
“I started to notice a sudden light tingling on my ball sack which, within 30 seconds, had turned to a light burning. As I started to wash the body wash off, it had occurred to me that the burning feeling had spread to my other private parts. My balls now smell like peppermint slice… just a heads-up for further complaints.”
In its response, Original Source Australia wrote its mint and tea tree body wash “definitely has some tingle to it” but it was sorry to hear about the man’s nether regions.
“We do recommend not to leave [it] on your privates for too long,” the business wrote.
“How can we make it up to you?”
Original Source’s response has been liked more than 13,000 times and received more than 1000 replies from other Facebook users.
It’s the latest example of the way businesses big and small are increasingly using humour to respond to customer complaints on social media.
Earlier this year, Coles won support after it responded cheekily to a customer who found a caterpillar in their capsicum.
“Thank goodness, we’ve been looking everywhere,” Coles wrote.
Social media expert and founder of CP Communications, Catriona Pollard, told SmartCompany while humour can be an effective way to diffuse situations, small businesses need to be careful about how and when they try to be funny.
“The only appropriate time to use humour with a customer complaint is if the customer has instigated the complaint using humour,” Pollard says.
“In this case, he made a complaint but he did it in a joking way. So it’s appropriate in that case to follow the tone set by the consumer. But they did do the right thing in that they dealt with it seriously as well by saying how can we make it up to you. Had they not done that, then that would have been a fail.”
Pollard says even though humour often works well on social media, businesses still have to treat customer complaints seriously and use them as an opportunity to “build bridges with customers”.
“The core learning form this is that complaints can go viral no matter what,” Pollard says.
“As a brand, you need to think very carefully about how you handle those responses. This is your opportunity to build positive brand reputation as opposed to a negative one.
“This is an opportunity to turn the virality of that into a positive.”
SmartCompany contacted Original Source Australia but did not receive a response prior to publication.