Qantas are about to take the gloves off when it comes to dealing with the dark underbelly of social media. Head of Corporate Communications, Jo Fitzgerald first flagged the Qantas change of stance at the recent Business Leaders Conference in Sydney.
“Quite frankly we’ve had a gut-full of the idiots and losers who hang out on social media and pick on us for their amusement, said Fitzgerald. “And we’re also over the social media whiners who complain about EVERY LITTLE THING we do as if it were the end of the world. We think it’s time they got a life.
“At Qantas we’re proud of our service and people, and we’re not going to stand by and take a kicking from someone who is incapable of communicating with us respectfully. I’m not of course talking about the hundreds of genuine comments and complaints we pick up through social media each day – we love this on-the-fly feedback and being a part of these conversations. No, it’s the serial sprayers we’re targeting. Here are the main tenants of our new initiative:
- If you abuse us on social media, we’re going to proportionally abuse you back. Then you’ll see what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an #epicfail.
- If you make a pseudo-complaint on social media in the hope of getting an upgrade or special service, the opposite will likely happen. You’ll probably end up sitting next to that crying baby all the way to London, or your luggage might just get ‘lost’ for a day or two.
- If you use foul, abusive, racist or sexist language or emoticons we will publicly shame you on a dedicated Facebook page we’ve set up.
- If you troll us we will feed you until you can take it no more. We have enlisted the services of one of the nastiest ex-trolls to ever roam the internet, US based Mark ‘Stinky Boy’ Rider. Our people are being trained by Rider in the art of baiting and how to press people’s hot buttons without ever relenting.”
Asked whether such an approach could damage the Qantas brand Fitzgerald replied, “No, we’re anticipating support from the wider social media community. It’s about fostering mutual respect – most people get that. This is our house, our rules and it’s where we call home.”
A Telstra representative at the conference expressed a deep interest in Fitzgerald’s presentation. “We’ll be watching closely. We share a camaraderie with Qantas on this one.”