Yesterday’s blog seemed to hit the right note with many people but the lack of responses from M&S are not going down well.
Selling game in a couple of stores is hardly a make or break decision for M&S – you’d think that a bit of unfavourable reaction would persuade their accountants not to bother.
I would expect the young spotty accountant, not the one with the glasses, to say to the accountant with glasses ‘It’s really not worth the hassle. We don’t know if these, what are they called, grouse, are going to sell anyway. Although most of these people will forget to avoid us after a while there wouldn’t have to be many people who were annoyed by us on this subject to make the whole thing a bit of a failure. Let’s quietly can it.‘.
And the accountant with glasses would say ‘Quite right. I agree. Nobody told us about lead and hen harriers and greenhouse gases – crikey, this game stuff is very complicated.‘.
And that would be it. And maybe that’s what will happen soon. We’ll see – because we (you and I) will not go away, or forget, or be generous with M&S, because they are handling this badly and losing our respect.
1. M&S isn’t responding to questions on Twitter – they are being anti-social on social media and that looks arrogant and stand-offish. Why have a Twitter account (@marksandspencer) if you aren’t going to interact with people?
2. M&S hasn’t even responded by saying ‘we’ve had lots of questions on this subject and we’ll get back to you soon’ which at least would be an acknowledgement and a way of playing for time – but they haven’t bothered to do that.
3. M&S is sending out standard replies which quite clearly do not answer the questions that individuals asked – that looks arrogant and/or uncaring too.
4. The factual quality of the answers is low – they aren’t impressing their questioners at all, and so M&S is looking inept.
5. The emotional quality of the answers is terribly poor – M&S give the strong impression that they don’t give a damn what their customers think, we can all take our custom elsewhere if we like.
Those are some of the ways that they are getting it wrong. But why are they getting it wrong? Why did they not, it appears, consult anyone who could have told them they were blundering into this controversy poorly equipped? Why do they not appear to know what they are talking about? Why are they not showing any sign of empathy with their customers? Why are they simply batting back all enquiries? Why are they getting it so wrong?
It could be that the person with brains in M&S is on holiday. It might be that they are an inept and arrogant company – but that isn’t how they have come across to me up until now. It could be that they are playing for time – just not doing it very well.
Or maybe it is because they didn’t get into this area through a misguided piece of market research which they now regret but maybe, just maybe, as I am guessing, they got into it on a senior manager’s whim and they haven’t done due diligence. Might there be a senior manager in M&S who is so powerful that he, or she, could call the shots in this way? Is there one who might be a keen grouse shooter who was doing this as a favour to her or his mates?
We cannot possibly know.
Marc Bolland, the M&S boss looks an interesting type – oh, and he does a bit of shooting according to the Daily Mail. Maybe he could enlighten us. I wonder where he is now? Can he smell the cordite in the air as he feels the recoil pad of the stock snug against his shoulder? Does the heather look nice? I think we should be told.
Well, we certainly should be told something – and at the moment M&S aren’t saying much.
But there is a great opportunity to tweet your questions to @marksandspencer to a live Q&A with #Ask Rosie at 1pm today. See you there?