An open letter to Topshop
October 7, 2010, 11:34 am
Filed under: other | Tags: , , , , , ,

Dear Topshop,

I am sorry to report that I will not be shopping with you again in the forseeable future. You have lost a loyal advocate purely on the grounds that you are wholly unable to communicate with your customers.

I visited the store on Friday 1st October to browse through your shoe department and found a pair I liked, however the price was not labelled. I wandered around for several minutes trying to find someone to help me, before coming across a group of your employees chatting loudly in the middle of the store, about their weekend plans. I’m not fussed by things like this usually, however it was lunchtime, the store was heaving, and there were other customers looking for assistance too. When I finally got their attention, I was told rudely by one of the girls that the shoes were £100 before she turned back to her conversation.

Irritated, but still keen to purchase the shoes, I took them to the counter to pay. Imagine my surprise when the cashier asked me for £160, not the £100 I was told they were. Embarrassed, I left the shoes at the counter and left the store very disappointed.

When I got back to my office I did what many would do and tried to communicate this issue with you via Twitter. Maintaining such an active twitter stream, I expected you to be listening as well as broadcasting, but I guess I was wrong. After several hours and no response, I tried again. Straight away another user commented on the situation and his message was retweeted by other users. Clearly an issue I’m not alone on.

Still no sign of acknowledgement from you, and very irritated, I decided to email your customer services department later that day. I even offered some professional advice on how to better manage your twitter feed. Straight away an auto-reply came back which informed me that “this is an acknowledgement only and we will reply to you within 24 hours”.

106 hours later and now very angry, I decided to email you one more time before venting my frustration and disappointment on my blog. Another auto-‘acknowledgement’ and another let down. Blog post it is then.

So, if anyone from Topshop is listening, let me summarise. Customers do not like to be ignored, least of all when they have an issue they need to communicate to you. All it needed was a friendly tweet saying ‘sorry to hear about your experience, we’ve taken note of it’. Having an online presence is a good thing, but only if you intend to engage with your community instead of spewing brand messages out aimlessly. Imagine meeting a friend to tell them something important, and they spend the entire hour talking about themselves and not listening to a word you say. Annoying, right?

You would do yourself a big favour if you spent more time nurturing relationships with your online community instead of, quite frankly, exploiting the following you have. If you damage one relationship online, you bear a significant risk of damaging a relationship with an entire community.

Over to you, Topshop. Let’s talk.


Lauren Severin (

*UPDATE 15:35 07/10/10: Topshop responded to me shortly after I posted, very apologetic but only addressing the poor in-store experience. I have requested a response about the Twitter / communication issue and I will update again.

*UPDATE 22/10/10 I recieved another email, this time from the Arcadia Group, who had been alerted to my post via Twitter and they wrote a very sincere apology about my difficulty in getting through to them via email and Twitter. I don’t know if it will change anything in the grand scheme but we can only hope. Thanks to everyone in my community for shouting about it and thanks to Topshop / Arcadia for eventually addressing the matter.

8 Comments so far
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This seems to be a typical example of bad handling a) In Store and b) In the Social Media arena. I had niggles in the past with Paypal disabling my account pretty much everytime I used it, I tweeted many times for it to be ignored completely. In contrast I had bought a defective product by a company called Trek-Tech, I tweeted about it, within a few hours they responded offering a free replacement, no questions asked. I got the new parts and tweeted positively, this company got some great publicity amongst the photographers that follow me.

Anyway, I will stop ranting, would be keen to find out if Topshop ever get back to you.


Phil – @philhawley on Twitter

Comment by Phil Hawley

Thanks for your comment Phil. Many companies have realised how Social Media can help nurture good relationships with their customers, but for some strange reason there are huge brands getting left behind. I will update later today 🙂

Comment by idreamelectric

It’s what happens when brands think about new things in old ways. Kind of like those brands that made TV ads in the 50s that were just radio ads with someone sat there talking…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Topshop are simply put shit. Both at managing the people they have in store (two girls in the shop I go to were discussing some random gossip when a third asked for help with arranging some bags – she got told off by the other two and told to manage it herself). Some of them dress awfully for what they call ‘boho chic’ (google that ‘being a … is cool’ video).

They never go past the ‘let’s have a twitter’ and everyone’s going to jump on it in case there are some discounts for their ridiculously overpriced style clothes. YAWN.

Retail experience my ass… 😀 You were far too patient with them. It’s really not worth the bother.

Comment by andreea

[…] one will tell ten, as we now have the power to tell as many people as we like! Take a look at this blog post showing what happened when @Topshop_tweets spoke, but didn’t […]

Pingback by Headstream – the social brand agency » Blog Archive » Customer service gone social

I had a very bad experience with Topshop as well. Before I placed an order for a jacket online, I phoned their store in NYC to see if they had it available in the store so I could by it there. The sales person looked for the item (I supplied the item number) and told me that all they had was the long jacket and not the short one. I asked her to double check and she came back and told me that the item was not available in the store. So I placed an order for the jacket online. The next day, I went to the store because my daughter wanted to shop for gifts, and sure enough, the jacket I had called about was indeed in the store. When I asked a sales person when they got the jacket in, she informed me that it had been in the store for at least 3 or 4 weeks. It’s been over two weeks since I placed the online order and my jacket still has not arrived. I called customer service to inquire about the status and the person on the phone told me that I may not get it for another week or two. When I tried to tell him how upset I was he hung up on me. Called many more times and emailed them numerous times. Still no response. This the the worst customer service from what is supposed to be a very reputable business. I will never EVER shop at Topshop again.

Comment by Nicola

Sorry to hear about your experience Nicola. Eventually I got an acceptable reply from them, but the the fact of it is that it should never have happened in the first place. If you are customer-facing and have no desire to help customers, you shouldn’t be there. They need to look at their recruitment and training processes I think.

Comment by idreamelectric

Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Evan Bunk

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