Does Asos have bots running its Facebook page?
Published 25/05/2016 | 12:13
The robot revolution might not be all it's cracked up to be.
The Asos Facebook page in Australia seems to have been taken over by bots, trolls or sleepy staff.
When Nick Paterniti, a 30-year-old export consultant from Perth, used the social media page to complain about a lost package, he received a reply from Asos Ashley asking him to send personal details such as birth date and order number in a private message.
Other Facebook users soon discovered that their comments on the Facebook page – even those that were not calls for customer service – received similar replies.
Ben Somerford, who commented "so quirky" on Mr Paterniti's post, was asked to "fire over" his email address, date of birth and order number in a private message so Asos Steve could look into the issue for him.
A similar response was sent to a user who commented: "This is the worst customer service algorithm I have ever seen."
The nature of the replies from Asos, which were first spotted by Australian media and marketing site Mumbrella, prompted customers to question whether the customer service representatives were humans or bots. asos
"Are these responses computer generated or something?" one user asked, adding that the replies don't make sense.
Ironically, she received a similar response, asking for her personal details so Asos Danielle could take a look at her query.
Minutes later, Asos Ashley added: "These aren't auto generated" – although she still asked the user to send a private message.
Despite Asos' insistence that its replies were not auto-responses, amused comments from other Facebook posters continued to receive similar replies.
In response to a Facebook user who tagged some friends to "check out the auto responses on this thread," which she called "flipping hilarious", Asos Emily replied:
"I'd like to re assure you that our responses are in no way automated, every response is written by the individual advisor that picks up the query."
But Facebook users refused to be deterred from the fun.
One commenter called the events "stunningly comical" while another opted for "hard fail".
An Asos spokesperson declined to comment, but the Australian site's official Twitter account told a user: "We don't do automated responses – we respond this way because we can't discuss customers' details publicly!
"We can understand how this looks, but we're only trying to ensure that we help all of our customers that get in touch."
It did seem as if at least some of the Asos Facebook staff were in on the joke.