An online uproar erupted after Paradigm Mall sarcastically told a Facebook user that he was free to solve its elevator problems with magic.
On Monday, Paradigm Mall patron Su Yuen Hsiang posted on the mall’s Facebook page that the lifts were problematic.
Paradigm Mall responded six hours later, saying that its staff were looking into the matter.
In a swipe at the mall’s services, another Facebook user Freddie Toh said: “Again Looking…”
This comment presumably irked Paradigm Mall, who sarcastically replied: “Yes, Freddie, Paradigm Mall does not know magic. Cannot snap fingers and make changes. You can? Then we want to hire you!!”
The response would later develop into a back-and-forth between the mall and Toh, who subtly attacked Paradigm for replying in such a fashion.
Toh said: “Well, you need to pay me well for it. If you think you can afford it.”
To this, Paradigm Mall replied in verbatim: “Hi Freddie, sure! You know MAGIC wor! However expensive also we can afford!! Then we can longer have to answer ‘looking into’.
“Come for an interview NOW (Since you know magic you can appear right). This is awesome, Paradigm Mall has now Freddie Toh with INSTANT solutions to EVERYTHING! PERFECT MALL now, people! Let’s give Freddie Toh a big, big hand!!!!”
The mall’s responses did not sit well with many local Facebook users, who promptly criticised it for attacking an enquiring customer.
(The Kelana Jaya-based Paradigm Mall opened to the public on May 23, five days before this exchange.)
Jason Leong Say Keong said: “Dear Paradigm Mall, please be professional and grow up. Also, I have sent this link to all the bloggers I know.”
“Hopefully by tomorrow, everyone will learn to avoid the gangster-run, rempit-inspired, ah-long influenced Paradigm Mall, which is clearly evident from this page.”
Andy Saiden said: “This is so typical Malaysian mentality. You just gotta love the professionalism by the Paradigm Mall admin.”
“…Was it too hard to be kind to a potential customers? I was actually planning to check this new mall out. But now I lost all interest and will most probably advise my friends not to go.”
‘Senior leadership and training issues’
In several references to Harry Potter, Mohd Khairie wrote: “Dear Paradigm Mall, I have recently heard of your vacancy for a resident magician for your mall, and I would like to apply for the position.”
Adrian Tan said: “Hi Paradigm Mall, I know magic. Salary berapa (how much)? Let’s talk.”
Faced with the deluge of criticism, Paradigm Mall’s Centre Manager Carrie Kon apologised (on the same page) yesterday for the mishap.
“We are truly sorry for the unpleasant thread which spurred from Yuen Hsian’s concern on the elevators,” she said, adding that the mall was settling the matter internally.
She added that Paradigm’s technicians were also making sure that their lifts were working right.
This did not stop Malaysian Facebook users from criticising the shopping centre’s “magic” call; which an anonymous digital media strategist said, could have been avoided with “common sense”.
“It was a very stupid mistake,” the strategist told FMT. “The administrator’s Manglish (Malaysian English) made it seems as though there was a 19-year-old behind the responses.”
He said a “true” customer service officer would have never responded in such a fashion, and said that the person handling the mall’s Facebook page might have been “some guy on the mall’s marketing team.”
“Social media is more complicated than it sounds…The problem is, that when we argue face-to-face, that’s it. We have a disagreement. But when there’s a disagreement online, it stays there.
“I’m sure they wanted to go viral, just not this way,” he said.
At the same time, the strategist said that Freddie Toh was also to blame for the fiasco, calling the latter a “troublemaker”.
Mere minutes after he made his “Again Looking” comment, Toh posted similar snide remarks on other Paradigm Mall Facebook posts.
In a query over restaurants, Toh simply said: “Pricey stuff.” When another asked how to get to Paradigm Mall from Mid Valley Megamall, Toh said: “Take a cab.”
To Jasmine Chua’s (a Facebook user) query about shuttle buses from the Kelana Jaya LRT station, Toh attacked Paradigm Mall’s seemingly slow response by saying: “Yes, after 7hours you only reply. Jasmine would have already died waiting for your reply.”
While commending Paradigm Mall for its frequent Facebook updates, Burson-Marsteller digital strategist Kelvin Lim asked why the mall took two days to come up with an official statement.
He said the incident showed that the mall’s Facebook administrator had “senior leadership and training issues”, and asked if Paradigm was prepared to handle the matter in the first place.
Lim added that the mall was also likely to suffer in the “short to medium term” over the incident.
Even so, he said public perception would improve if Paradigm bettered itself and its “social media approach.”