When I first heard about an opportunity to print tiny photos and words on custom-color M&Ms candies, I thought about ordering them as a Christmas gift for my brother.
On December 13th, I fatefully found a coupon in a Sunday circular and placed the order on MyMMs.com, but only after several attempts to complete the order process (the website caused Firefox, Safari, AND Internet Explorer to crash several times before I could checkout). I received an order confirmation that same day, and my shipment was guaranteed to arrive by Christmas.
Since then, I have been telling everyone (except my brother, of course) how excited I was to receive this gift in the mail. My parents liked the idea so much they bought an old-fashioned candy dispenser to complement the candy!
However, yesterday, at 2:17 PM, I received the following automated e-mail:
We wanted to thank you for your interest in personalized Faces MY M&M’S® and we are very excited to assist you in creating the perfect experience.
We want to confirm that we have received your order, however; the image(s) you submitted cannot be used. As a result, we will not be able to meet your expected delivery date and will be canceling your order and removing all costs associated with your order.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and would like to offer you another wonderful option in creating a MY M&M’s® experience. We are offering, especially for you, a 10% off any of our other exciting products: Custom Print, MY TEAMS, Colors Only or Disney products.
I was completely heartbroken and puzzled by the message.
I realize that worse things can happen to a person during the holiday season. However, I was really looking forward to giving my brother this special gift.
I’m still not completely sure why M&Ms rejected my order, though they vaguely mentioned that my photo was not acceptable (I followed their instructions as carefully as possible!). Truth be told, I actually submitted two photos, but the e-mail did not acknowledge this fact.
Immediately after I received their message, I wrote to their customer service department and explained my dilemma. When I clicked “Send your message”, the page refreshed, my message disappeared, and I received no confirmation.
Not only does all of this reek of poor customer service, but it also smells of rotten e-commerce. Off the top of my head, I don’t know any other way to purchase personalized M&Ms except via the Internet. Despite this fact, the company’s online purchasing methods are both unreliable and unprofessional.
Lately, I have been feeling very skeptical about the future of Twitter and the importance of Facebook for brands, but the story I just shared is a case where M&Ms and Mars have failed because they lack an effective and reliable online presence. Neither M&Ms nor Mars has a Twitter account (I did find @msgreen, but I wasn’t sure whether or not this is an official account).
No marketing or PR representatives seem to be monitoring Twitter for good or bad news about M&Ms (and trust me, a lot of people talk about M&Ms on Twitter). No official M&Ms Facebook page exist – the ones that do exist are written in languages that aren’t English.
I’m sure that Mars has already made a fortune by selling personalized M&Ms during this holiday season, and they probably don’t give a rat’s behind about losing my business. However, this kind of behavior is the reason that companies eventually DO lose customers.
Just because M&Ms are M&Ms doesn’t mean they can’t fail. Come on, Mars, your website doesn’t even work. I write for free, and my website works all the time.
I would ask M&M Mars to hire me as their new marketing manager, but I’d be embarrassed to work for a company that’s lagging so far behind the times. Thanks for stressing me out during the holiday season – now, with just three days until Christmas, I have to find my brother another gift!