Café Coffee Day – A lot can happen over Twitter

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As the tag line for Café Coffee Day goes, “a lot can happen over coffee”. In an ironic twist of events, the brand discovered that “a lot” can really happen, if, allegedly, not allowed over coffee, then over Twitter.

Scenario

A tweet-up planned by a group of bloggers/micro bloggers at the Café Coffee Day, Ishapani Center, Chennai, India.

Point of contention

A section of the blogger group interacts over snacks and awaits other participants to join. In the interim, the coffee shop manager approaches them and is to have asked the group rudely to pay cover charges or leave.

The group, miffed, leaves the venue after paying the bill and decides to share its ire against the coffee chain over their original meeting ground – Twitter

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction

On Feb 04, 2010, the first message is posted with the hashtag #ccdsucks. Over the next two days, there is a huge-burst of conversations around the episode, most voices lashing out at Cafe Coffee day.

What began as a pouring against the manager’s inappropriate conduct went on to include bad customer service, coffee and existing grievances of the customers against the brand –

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There were few who highlighted that the brand had already apologised over their Twitter page stating that they did not have a policy for cover charge and were willing to resolve the issue but the Twitterati who began the hashtag were in no mood to relent.

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Impact

According to estimates, there were 650+ posts with the Twitter hashtag #ccdsucks on the Day 2 itself and the subject was among the trending topics during that week. A Facebook group named ccdsucks and an anonymous Twitter account @ccdsucks also came up during the period (both of which have been deleted now). Many individuals highlighted the irony behind CCD having to use #ccdsucks to counter criticism against the brand. The issue started losing steam Feb 07 onwards, with CCD’s apology message finding a more widespread mention and with the growing sentiment that the brand was being too harshly penalised for the mistake of an individual representative.

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Analyse Now – voices over blogs

There were also some interesting blogs that came up around the subject sharing observations/learnings from the episode. In a blog post Does Cafe Coffee Day really suck, Beast of Traal highlighted how the biggest issue facing CCD was

“the lack of a leader in the mob protest on Twitter” since different voices “jumping in with criticism, advice, jokes from all directions”

perhaps confused the brand further on how to resolve the issue.

Rajesh Lalwani shared tips for the CCD team on how they could manage the issue better speaking of the opportunity for the brand to

“engage afresh, find (your) supporters and work upon regaining lost ground”.

In another blog post IdeasMaverick shared what both the parties could have done better and concluded saying,

“while the mob frenzy seems to have stir a storm in a coffee cup, it was clearly uncalled for and completely misdirected. Considering their presence on Twitter, Cafe Coffee Day could’ve done better by actively (and constantly) responding to the issue by steering the conversation away from #ccdsucks to an alternative”.

The brand did find a lot of support, even during the peak of  the crisis, showcasing strength amongst consumers. And, it appears business as usual for Cafe Coffee Day, both on the ground, and at the social media touch points – a smart recovery from a short lived crisis.

Do share with us what you thought were your learnings from the episode.

Update – Feb 17, 11:10 pm -  There was another analysis of the episode shared by Vijay Raypati yesterday - “How Cafe Coffee Day Handled Their #CCDSUCKS Issue” that also highlights the no. of conversations between 4th-6th Feb as well as names of top influencers and curators during the episode.

Here’s Vijay’s slidedeck:

  • http://www.sandeepnvarma.blogspot.com Sandeep

    Its gud to see a lot happened over twitter. We, the chennai TEDX organisers also faced lots of indifferent behaviour,( not reducing the vol of audio, not giving the menu. Now we have decided never to have any meeting @ CCD, Ispahani centre,”Consumer is still the king you know!!!”

  • http://blogworks.in Amita

    Hi Sandeep,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. These are indeed important learnings for brand/marketers and other participants in the space.

    Thanks

    Cheers

    Amita

  • Jess

    However it begs the question that perhaps consumers can become abusers. Can they turn into a vigilante group, a mob mentality that bands together to bad-mouth or bully a business because they could not get their way? Seems like they wanted a free place to socialize. How much coffee can you possibly drink to justify occupying valuable business space for your “social event” for free? Other customers may not have a place to sit and enjoy their paid for coffee and snacks.
    Guess what folks, you probably just bit your own hand because now businesses will likely institute policies like cover charges. For every action there is a reaction. Another Social Media lesson learned!