I Like Big Peaches And I Cannot Lie: The Little Guy Wins
Customer complaints. Since the advent of social media and user review sites, they’ve gathered more steam and taken on a new life. You only have to take a quick scan of Coles or Woolworths’ Facebook page to get the picture.
These businesses must feel like the parent who faces the dilemma of whether to satisfy the screaming toddler chucking the mega-tantrum in the shopping centre because everyone is watching, or hold their ground to avoid establishing a precedent.
This week two major tech brands Apple and Twitter took steps to address customer complaints.
Twitter Tackles Trolls
Twitter has finally responded to calls to do something about online abuse. The struggling platform introduced three new measures to help users shut out trolls. You know, those nasty creatures that spread inflammatory spiteful and often discriminatory messages or threats online. There have been a number of high-profile incidents on the site, including the racist harassment of Leslie Jones, one of the stars of Ghostbusters.
Users can now report abuse against themselves or others using a “hateful conduct” button. It’s designed to enforce Twitter’s policies against torment based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.
The social media site also upgraded its “mute” feature that allows users to hide other accounts they don’t want to see. It can now apply to keywords, phrases and even entire conversations. In a blog announcing the updates, the company said, “this is a feature we’ve heard many of you ask for, and we’re going to keep listening to make it better and more comprehensive over time.”
The final update is the retraining of all Twitter’s support teams on its policies. One of the big criticisms of Twitter is its failure to effectively deal with problems when they’re reported. Special sessions for staff on the cultural and historical context of hateful conduct are designed to address this.
Today, CEO Jack Dorsey apologised after a promoted Tweet for a white supremacist group slipped through its automated checks, so Twitter clearly has work to do.
Apple Revives Peach
Apple is a company that’s famous for deciding when most of its customers don’t need something anymore. It determined in 2011 that the DVD drive was old hat and phased them out of their laptop and desktop units. This year, it called time on the headphone jack, with the release of iPhone 7.
People are resistant at first, but eventually, they adapt and the grumbling dies down. However, sometimes you must hold the line. Such is the case with Apple’s peach emoji. The first beta preview of iOS 10.2 revealed a modified, more realistic depiction of the fruit. Cue internet outrage and a state of widespread mourning from people who’d realised the utility of having an emoji of a fruit that resembled a bottom.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) November 1, 2016
For once, Apple heard the outcry and went back to the drawing board. An ever-so-slightly adapted version of the original peachbutt has emerged in iOS 10.2 beta 3. Perhaps in the face of Apple’s declining growth and stagnant iPhone sales, it’s trying a more appeasing approach.
The relationship between corporation and consumer is rapidly changing. Brands like Apple could once maintain customer loyalty while forging their own path. Now it faces an intensified challenge from competitors that listen and respond to the market. It will be interesting to see whether the jury of social media will hold true influence or if consumers will drown each other out and collectively become white noise. For now, the little guy can rest satisfied with winning the Battle of Peach Butt.