Monday, 1 August 2011

My Episode with @Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes @wondermilkcafe

I am very disappointed.

Disappointed with a brand I've admired for many many years.

Loved their cupcakes. But now, don't think I'm ever going back there again.

Why, you ask me? Well, let me story.

Last Tuesday (26th July 2011), I went to their Citta Mall outlet to get cupcakes. It was my second visit to that particular outlet. My first visit was just the week before that for lunch with some colleagues. Yes, food was yummy. Cupcakes was yummy. But as we were choosing the cupcakes, saw some "friends" hanging out in the cupcakes rack. There were not many, like maybe one or two where I saw them, so I did not say anything then.

Back to the story, last Tuesday, I was at Citta Mall for dinner and before leaving, I decided to grab some yummy cupcakes for dessert. When I was queuing up next to the cupcake rack, I now saw that the "friends" I met has bravely "invited" more friends to hang out. This time, as it was obviously more than five, I just had to say something to the staff there. But to my amazement, not only that the staff did not apologise or explain anything, they merely pulled out the tray I pointed, "looked" at the array of cupcakes on that tray, and shoved the tray back to its place. But well, as I still wanted to have cupcakes that night, I went ahead and bought half dozen of them to take home.

I thought all was well. Then when I was browsing my Facebook wall, one of their post appeared on my wall and so I thought, maybe I should comment just in case they are not aware of this problem. So I did.

My initial post on their Facebook fan page was (cannot remember the exact words coz they DELETED my post on their fan page wall):

Dear Wondermilk. Been to your outlet @ Citta Mall twice and both time I saw insects flying around inside the cupcakes rack. When I mention this to your staff on duty at that time, no one could give me answer.
(I hope that this post will not be deleted @lolachin)

Not long after (maybe a couple of days after that post), I received a PM (private message) on Facebook from Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes.

28 July 2011

Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes

hello there,
thank you for your feedback we truly appreciate it. for any complaints or suggestions, we strongly advise you to call or email us directly and speak to a manager in charge. its unfair to embarass us with your snide remarks on our public wall when you could have easily contacted us directly via email or phone.

our email address and phone number is available under the info tab in facebook and also on our website

anyhow, with regards to your complaint, we are very sorry about your recent experience. rest assured that we are aware of this situation and am doing our best in solving it.

if you could give us the exact date, time and location of your experience it would be very helpful.

our sincere apologies again.
thank you.

My response:

Michelle Ho

Dear Wondermilk,

Firstly, thank you for your response. However, I think my comment was fair and not 'snide' like you said as I was merely commenting what I saw while I was there. I believe, by having a public facebook wall, you should be open to both positive and negative comments from your 'fans'. It's the way you respond to these comments that will make the difference.

If you are referring the 'snide' comment based on the (bracketed 'deleted' comment), reason for that was because a friend of mine posted a comment on your wall sometime back, and later status-ed message that her comment was deleted from your wall. I was hoping that mine will not get the same treatment as I seriously did not want insects flying around the cupcakes I was gonna buy.

My first time to your outlet @ Citta Mall was last week during lunch, not sure if it was it a Monday or Tuesday where I already saw one or two insects flying around inside the cupcake rack. My 2nd time to your Citta Mall outlet was just last Tuesday (26 July 2011) when I packed the cupcakes back home. This time I had to comment this to your staff as there were more that 5-6 insects at difference spots in the cupcake rack, and it was to obvious to ignore. When I commented this to your staff on duty there, they merely pulled the tray out, 'shoo-ed' the insects away and placed the tray back into the rack. Obviously I did not get any cupcake from that batch.

I seriously hope that this matter could be remedied coz as much as I love your cupcakes, this experience would deter me from visiting your outlet (especially the Citta Mall outlet) if the problem is still there.

Other than that, I have always been an admirer with your entrepreneurship-ness, from the time you started your website, to your little quaint shop @ One Utama and last but not least, your cupcakes. I hope I see more of your work in the future.

Best regards,

They responded (pretty quickly too)

Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes

Dear Michelle,
We are definitely aware of the insect problem and the situation is being remedied since your last visit. Citta mall has the highest most unusual insect infestation we have encountered, no matter how many high powered insect lights we installed (we have 3 in citta alone) and pest control treatments done, the insects keep coming. Other neighboring shops are experiencing the same problems as well. Rest assured the situation is being controlled and efforts with such pest problems usually take time.

On another note, we are very very open to negative comments as we appreciate each and every feedback so we can improve better but we do not appreciate ones that aim to spread bad vibes, embarrass & ridicule us and/or bring us down. We realise that facebook wall is an avenue for friends to exchange unbiased views, but please bear in mind that we are a company and as professionals, matters should be dealt with professionally. Thats why we chose to contact you here privately. Theres no need for public negativity as neither party will benefit from its outcome.

How would you feel if one of your customers at your company publicly write a negative complaint about you for all to see, when the right and most ethical approach as an adult, is by informing you and dealing with you directly. Mind you, we are no longer in high school. Try putting yourself in our shoes before you make any judgements. Something for you to think about.

In the future we would appreciate if you or your friends have something good or bad to say, please direct your comments and suggestions directly to our official email or call us directly. We welcome all feedback with open arms.

We truly appreciate your support.
Thank you and have a nice day.

Wondermilk (M) Sdn Bhd

And my final respond to them today (1st August 2011).

Michelle Ho

Dear Wondermilk,

Thanks for the clarification. However, I'd like to point out that rather than deleting my comment on your page, you should have simply replied my feedback with your explanation as per your last message to me. Not only will it serve as a good PR practice to you, but it will also alleviate relief towards your other fans/customers who have been to that place. Plus, you will show good Social Media practice by responding to each and every feedback/complaint without deleting them.

Also, your condescending tone in your messages is distasteful. However wrong a customer may be, you should not have mentioned the following:

"Mind you, we are no longer in high school. Try putting yourself in our shoes before you make any judgements. Something for you to think about."

Bad move. As a brand, you should apply more tact with your words. Why are you assuming that I do not know what PR and social media is all about, especially for brands and companies? If you must know, part of my job is to monitor and deal with online social media feedback. The key is to NOT delete any feedback (unless it's vulgar and offensive to others) but to respond accordingly to assure the commenter that the issue is well taken care of.

Besides that, your words very much contradicted each other. You stated that you are highly open to negative comments as feedback, and yet you have deleted mine. Please define your terms of bad vibes, embarrassment or ridiculing posts towards your brand. How was it that my wall post falls into that category?  (Looks like we may not know as the post is there no more.) I'm very much aware that I did NOT use any vulgarity or obscenities in my feedback, and neither am I harshly judging your brand unreasonably without any solid grounds. The intention was all to seek for a solution to my query, which was on the flying insects.

And since you have asked me to "think about it", allow me to provide you some pointers to think about as well:

Here's one that should interest you greatly. I have even extracted a pointer for you:

"Never make it personal. If and when conflict escalates, never make it personal. Never attack the person, even if he or she attacks you personally. Keep the conversation focused on the issues."

My final question is this: If you are unable to accept all types of feedback (minus vulgarity, obscenity, racism, and defamation) why do you have a Facebook fan page in the first place? Or in the very least, do not open your page for fans to post comments. Keep it to yourself for updates and posts. Once you make it public, always be prepared to respond to ANY queries and criticism posted there.

Well, I've said what I needed to say. With this episode, you have somehow successfully made me think less of your brand. No matter how much I love your cupcakes and your cafe, unless something has changed for the better, it's no longer my cafe choice with family or friends.

Best regards,

To me, case closed. But guess who's no longer gonna get cupcakes from them again?

Update after clicking "Publish Post".

Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes

Thank you for your reply and pointers. Much appreciated.
Again we would like to apologize for your recent experience with us. We thank you for your understanding and hope you will consider us again in the future.

Best regards,
Wondermilk (M) Sdn Bhd


Aapitz said...

waahhhhhhhh.....eerrr, so wrong approach i might say.

Maybe dioarg lupa kot, there's a quote saying :
"A happy customer tells one friend, an unhappy customer tells everybody"

Ahhhaaa....amek ubat!

They just shud reply on the feedback wall itself lah's more professional...mmg ramai org tau...but it's show your integrity lah kan....kenapa nak sorok. Action plan are on the Why being so negative..? It's more appropriate that they share what their plan are with their fans rather than nak PM with you.

Babe, i'm with you... :)

michelleho said...

Aapitz, exactly. Benda kecik-kecik kan dah jadi besar. I was only expecting a feedback on my post, not getting it DELETED (actually, kinda expected that lah based on friend's experience) and getting PM-ed to be "strongly advised".

Kevin said...

I'm with you on this. Their customer service sucks big time at their Damansara Utama outlet.

I get the impression that they think that their blasted cupcakes are the best in Malaysia (btw, they're not!)

Their "take it or leave it" attitude turned me off a couple of years back and I've not been back since. Reading your post brings back fond memories of my last experience with them.

Su said...

Well done!
U handled it extremely well and they were obviously childish and unable to take negative feedback well.

Loved your last msged to them.

Janice Lim said...

That was really bad way in replying. Deleting a post is bad enough, even though the post wasn't a good feedback, but the way they (and tone) replied is quite offensive.

Yes, the business may have great tasting cupcakes, but the whole experience just leaves a bitter after taste.

Alpha Lim said...

The only time I walked into wondermilk was their first outlet in 1U. I picked up a "bad vibe" and didn't even sit down ;P.

Thanks for the warning ;).

Iced Nyior said...

Was never a fan of buying cupcakes, and always felt wondermilk is ridiculously overpriced.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. Mayb adding a screenshot of the messages would be better

von Volvaria said...

how appalling! with a large fan base, i've always had the impression that wondermilk provided decent service.

thanks for sharing! (:

Ladynoe™ said...

Their answer sound so kerek. Menyampah baca. Sepatutnya say sorry and promise us the good things in the future la.

Apa punya customer service la wondermilk...

Taufulou said...

well,, i just went there once few years back when i heard their name..then never return back pun . . found it so so and over rated on my own preference la..

well, till date their brand still stood strong..good for them . .its a pity that they have not so pro customer service. . hopefully they improve. . and one point for sure that they must not delete response in fb.. some more say accept negative feed back .. .hrmm . . should be openly accept feedback..wel well well.. diff company have diff policy . . this dint work that well i guess. .

Glo-w~* said...

Kudos! Well said! Basically they turned an opportunity into a disaster all with their bare hands. Being tactful is something so useful. I got my 1st hater today on my blog and well, I hope I did you justice by showing good online social media feedback...sigh...good manners and common sense are so rare these days~ Again well done^^ Wish I had your eloquence <3

Gwen said...

I think you handled them extremely well, bravo to you! They were really very condescending and plain rude. im speechless by the way they replied to your mail

I suggest you head to the Pejabat Kesihatan and request for them to check on their outlet. They were never nice to you anyway, give them a taste of their own medicine!

Kian Fai said...

The person who handle the Facebook is just being kiasu and probably got fired right now.

Having a Facebook Wall open is to be prepared receive negative comment.

Good 1 anyways . . . I always wanted to complain some restaurant and they just give me a simple reply and ask me to complain on email . . . sigh**

Roy aziz said...

wow!i heard bout ur conflict with wondermilk when wondermilk post a public appology to u in twitter n i googled ur feud with wondermilk..cant believe that they wrote like that to u..very child-ish of them..
i am a big fan of their cupcakes but when i read bout this, it makes me think less of them..
i harap they will do sumting bout their PR. eventho they already make it public, but, damage has been done..
i am with u on this michelle. a customer is a customer n we give them business to run right?
cheers michelle! :)


chunkiet3 said...

Wow... way to go Mich!!

Shaz said...

I agree with Kevin on the "take it or leave it" attitude. I used to go to their DU outlet a lot until one day I had enough of the overpriced cupcakes and bad customer service. The people at the counter don't seem like they care two hoots. I stopped buying their cupcakes for some time already. I guess I'd rather order from home bakers and they are delicious.

These are the bakers I usually order from:


Shannon Chow said...

It's a big turn off for them to handle their facebook page that way. Especially with Social Media bad comments can't be covered up however they may explain and we're glad to listen to them in this case even if their fb is clean from bad feedbacks, we can still share it on Foursquare. Plus many don't realised most of us have experience in handling brands social media hence we'll usually voice out more to help and provide feedback. Totally turn off when they ask us to THINK About them when We are the customers.

michelleho said...

Hey there everyone! Thank you for all your comments and experience sharing. Well, Wondermilk has just this evening posted a Public Apology on their Facebook fan page with regards to this.

Our Public Apology
by Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes on Thursday, 04 August 2011 at 18:24

Wondermilk (M) Sdn Bhd would like to humbly apologize and express our utmost regret for our recent social media shortcomings. We admit that we overreacted and we need to improve in our customer service department and PR skills. We never meant to cause distress and dissatisfaction amongst our customers. We will take necessary measures to ensure that this does not reoccur. It is our responsibility and sincere assurance that we will improve our customer service for the better. Our sincerest apology goes out to all and especially to Michelle Ho . We take this opportunity to thank you all for growing with us.

My comment on their post:
"Thank you and let's all put this episode behind us. It's water under the bridge now. Let's learn and make a good step towards a better social media and customer service. Wishing Wondermilk Dan Cuppacakes all the best in your future endeavours..."

And they replied:
"You may rest assured that we have taken measures to improve our services in order to better serve our customers in the future.

We thank you for your support over the years and hope that this incident will not affect your faith and trust in our brand. Again, our sincerest apology to you for your unpleasant experience with us."

Well, I sincerely hope that Wondermilk will stay true to their word to improve and work on their shortcomings for the better. It may take me sometime to believe in their brand again just yet but maybe one day, someday, I may...

Hanim said...

Thank you for sharing. It made me realise how a quaint lil cafe will change one fine day when they have too many outlets. Pejabat Kesihatan Petaling in Kelana Jaya (nearby Tabung Haji) would be interested if many comes down with food poisoning.

ah^kam_koko' said...

You've got the backing & sympathy of the Internet community with you.

I liked how you stood your ground & gave constructive feedback to a clearly immature individual.
Well done.

I guess it's time you learned how to make your own cupcakes, eh?

Philip Khor said...

You see, PR is a bitch.

If i were to present photographic evidence then post on twitter, fb and my blog about cockroach eggs in a Starbucks outlet, surely their image is tarnished beyond repair. Not only that outlet gets bad PR, people around the world would question the brand, which they spend millions to build! IT is true, and I'm not fabricating any fake evidence. Sometimes it is just unfortunate coincidence.

Flies are everywhere -- especially in kampungs and near chicken farms.

If i were the manager, I would just give you free stuff to make it go away.

like the premium coffee shop industry, the cupcakes industry is very competitive. sabotage is common. and as honest as your intentions are, they can sometimes be misconstrued as attempt to sabotage (their reputation). after all, the product is just muffins with icing all over -- sold to you at a premium!

thanks for reading.

funkayy munkayy said...

good one babe. i tired it too and they are surprisingly fast at removing bad comments on their fb page. guess there will be narcissistic companies and brands everywhere. in the end we know that all we did was point out simple mistakes that could earn them more bucks

Keith Woo said...


But really, this is dismal PR. I'm glad I no longer patron there. Such proud statements and lack of professionalism. What they've done is shot themselves in the face by saying they want to be professional blablabla, but have done precisely the opposite.

If they don't know how to handle or deal with PR, then don't pretend to know.

You've done the right thing by shaming them and publicly revealing their lack of customer efficacy. Good one! We're behind you on this one!

Sze Yen said...

Thanks for sharing.

I don't think it's a problem with the company, but rather, the person(s) who is in charge of Customer Service and PR. In my experience, unfortunately, the people often put in charge are not trained and are there just because they have a good command of English. It doesn't mean that they necessarily have the tact, the common sense, or the experience to deal with the public. And unfortunately, it is this one person who can be the downfall of the entire company's image.

NazzS said...

hey dear, you may want to give my cupcakes a try. We specialized on american cakes & cupcakes and we made everything from scratch. No preservatives in our baking.

Do visit our page on facebook

We are located right in front of Citta Mall

daryll said...

Sounds like the person responding to your FB messages is the same one who served you at the front counter @ Citta. haha

mama miki said...

Well done and well said!

I googled abt your blog after sumone informed me of the public apology by wondermilk. I had sum episode as well at the same outlet, citta mall on the 28th July. The same thing, i tweeted it and they responded by PM to my facebook.

I am with you on the customer service issue. The manager behind the counter was unable to make this customer walk out happy!

Have to agree with aapitz comment ""A happy customer tells one friend, an unhappy customer tells everybody"..

DQ said...

Well guess what? I may be wrong, but last i checked (because i wanted to see it myself on the FB wall) the public apology on FB is no longer there and so is the apology tweet. Go figure. ;-)

Alpha Lim said...

This just keeps getting weirder and weirder...

michelleho said...

DQ - It's here.
They wrote it in their note section.

Iwani Khalid said...

Kaklong Mich, you rock!!!!! Thanks for sharing this epic story!! I loved the mashable plugs especially! Hehehe

kc said...

OMG - I just had such a rude experience with Wondermilk! so i type Wondermilk Rude and walah - this blog came up!

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