Today a group of unhappy customers started a PR campaign to encourage people to close their PayPal accounts.
Paypal have failed to mount any kind of response as of the time of this writing.
How the campaign to shut paypal down started
As far as I can tell the tweet to start it all off was:
@AnonymousIRC wondered if @Lulzsec calling for a boycott of Paypal would have a significant impact on the company.
This tweet was followed up by a post on Pastebin, also by AnonymousIRC, putting forward the case against Paypal.
Some minutes later (or before… can’t easily work out which came first) @anonymouSabu posted this:
That seems to have gotten the ball rolling. With RTs and direct engagement of followers and followers of followers and so on the phrase #OpPayPal is trending.
Let me say it again.
#OpPayPal is a trending phrase on Twitter.
How PayPal responded
I have looked at several Paypal accounts on Twitter.
Here are a couple of examples:
The most recent Twitter posting from @PayPal, the account that should be taking charge of the official response to this PR campaign has not posted anything since July 14.
The really telling thing about this posting is that was a response to another unhappy customer.
OK, so the official corporate account has no response and seems to be happy abdicating responsibility to another account. Here is how @AskPayPal have responded so far:
Which, interestingly, is another example of fobbing off an unhappy customer.
UPDATE: There are now reports that the page to cancel your PayPal account is no longer working.
It may be that the page is not working because the server is overloaded or because PayPal took the page down. Either way it is not good for PayPal.
PayPal social networking performance grade: F
No attempt to interact directly with their customers.
Either Paypal have no awareness of the campaign to undermine their business on Twitter or they do not believe Twitter users represent a significant threat to their business.
Either is a fail on the part of PayPal.
How could PayPal do better next time?
If a customer complains do not fob them off or blandly ask if you can help but respond directly to their concerns and attempt to engage them in a direct and open conversation about their issues.
If you upset a whole community take the time to properly respond. Put your case out there for your friends and foes alike. While nothing you say will make your enemies become your friends there is a good chance that if you take the time to address the issues, explain your position, and offer your enemies an opportunity to engage in a direct and open conversation you will keep the loyalty of your friends.
Reaction of PayPal customers to the boycott
The reaction has been mixed.
There are those who clearly support the aims of the boycott, such as:
I spent some time trying to find a pro PayPal tweet. The best I could find was:
Now there are loads of tweets speculating the impact on the share prices when the market opens
And many many PayPal customers who are a bit confused about it all and are actually helping to spread the #OpPayPal campaign simply because PayPal are not present in the conversation to help them understand that this is a politically motivated PR campaign.
So, PayPal, for all of the above you score an F on your social networking activity, an F on your use of Social Media tools, an F on your social communications skills and an F on your customer service efforts.
Try harder next time — if you manage to make it through the next 48 hours.