Empire Avenue – Social Media Fail Lesson Example for the Books and Manuals

Empire Avenue Fail 5 post overview: Over 5 posts on my blogs I documented issues with Empire Avenue, from their rogue volunteers, running a “wall of shame” on Brands, attacking Brands reputations online, not answering complaints, having a “goon squad” of endorsed volunteers attacking customers who complained, refusing to discipline internally thereby encouraging more attacks on Brands, etc. What I witnessed was the worst travesty in the annals of customer service I have ever seen. After a month of private discussions with EA to change things, I went public. Only then did they begin to change, but the attacks on me and others grew by their “goon squad.” In the end, I went to EA’s Angel Investor and EA had to shut down its Chat Room and Chat Mod “goons squad.” EA shamelessly has never apologized or produced it damning chat logs as promised by their CEO. This is one of those posts, you can read the rest by Search in the upper right for ‘Empire.’ Don’t play EA or if you do save your REAL money.

A company is responsible for overseeing its reps and volunteers that are endorsed and sanctioned by the company, in making sure they are in line with a Company code of conduct. Let me ask you something, if you were to go into Walmart or Nordstoms, make a complaint with Customer Service would you expect or allow yourself to continually be attacked and bullied by their Company volunteer staff? Then over a month it continues and gets worse the more you complain? I’m warning everyone with no question to avoid Empire Avenue. If your Brand comes under the ire of one of their rogue Chat Mods, Empire Avenue can’t protect the bashing of your Brand and doesn’t seem to care in my opinion. I’m telling people to run from this company, keep your money or ask for a refund. This is a perfect example of a social media fail everyone should be blogging about and making lesson plans on!

A COMPANY NEEDS TO PROTECT ITS CUSTOMERS! I think we can all agree it’s morally wrong for customers to be abused for complaints and speaking out. Its even sicker when those people are allowed to continue and the company does nothing.

If you look at EA’s site there is no legal notice that the chats attached to the site are separate and they have no legal control over that area. The Chat Mods appear to be EA employees in anyones mind who doesn’t know any better (they changed it after this post to say volunteers). There is absolute nothing to suggest these are not employees of EA. They behave and talk like they run the back end of EA. I’ve asked EA to remove offending volunteers, so far they have not which seems that they are actually very connected to them and liable.

Sadly for a month Empire Avenue keeps feeding me the line that these people are volunteers and thereby uncontrollable. They can’t/wont pay to have a company controlled one. Let me ask you, would you let a volunteer group handle the front end PR for your customers? I asked that question to 10 consultants today, they couldn’t stop laughing. Heres the moral danger. EA holds Brands PR and reputation in a certain light. If one of these Chat Mods who’ve attacked me decides to take a shine to anyone on EA, they can do whatever they want to destroy your Brand. Today Me, tomorrow You. This is unruly potential dynamite for any random brand. By this measure no Brand is safe on Empire Avenue from its Chat Mods.

First it started 2 weeks ago with this attack by an EA Mod publicly on my blog, after hearing of my complaint. “You’re full of bloated crap, Chris…shameful…you’re throwing your toys out of your pram, like a spoilt kid…A lesson in how NOT to use your social influence to get a message across.”

Yesterday, morning EA finally put attention on the issue by emailing me and warmly assuring me they would take immediate steps to control the Mods. Tonight in a chat room one EA Chat Mod attacks my EA Brand. Then she calls me to apologize, but leaves her Brand attack post up? Company authority reckless abuse of power. Then the offensive one who attacked me 2 weeks ago to start yesterdays thread, jumps in. You tell me if you would allow this thing to happen to you at any retail store and what would you do.

Below is my conversation with an Empire Avenue Chat Mod who attacked me a few weeks ago in my prior post, last night.

Wow so this endorsed volunteer of Empire Avenue doesn’t care, he calls the shots and is free to trash any EA customer. Worse off I’m told likely these rogue EA Mods have access to IP address and potentially other PRIVACY ISSUES. I spent $100 of my REAL money to play EA. I got my friends to do the same to about $500. Imagine how enraged you’d feel if you were at Walmart. Are you scared as hell right now for your brand on EA?

Right now, you are probably wondering why these people are still being used by EA after a month of my complaining. If you were the boss of this company what would you do? If this offends and shocks you from a customer service level and Brand PR damage potential feel free to tweet your displeasure to the CEO Click Here.

Update: As of this morning I just got the blow off and referred to the corporate attorney. No customer service, No care for the customer, No empathy. The b.s. 24 hours ago was lip service. _The offender hasn’t been reprimanded is off joking online about my private email comments to EA. I guess EA doesnt protect is customers after all._ Empire Avenue: Caveat Emptor, Let the buyer beware.

Update: EA shut down its chat and chat mods. Click Here