How should a company react when faced with embarrassing public relation gaffes that go viral? That’s the question Business Spectator
aims to answer in a recent article.
With potential PR disasters literally hours away given the quick nature of social media, it’s essential that companies know how to react to this type of PR debacle.
Here are four important (if basic) things from the Business Spectator story
that every PR pro should keep in mind when it comes to diffusing viral vitriol:
You can’t diffuse a customer’s (or several customers’) problem if you don’t understand what happened.
2. Speed is essential.
Paul Patterson, professor of marketing at the Australian School of Business, tells the Spectator
, “With the Internet, companies need to move even faster to stop a small fire from becoming a bush fire."
3. Apologize and fix the problem.
Among the viral PR disasters outlined in the article is Vodafone
, which became targeted by the increasingly popular, customer-created VodaFail. Its creator, Adam Brimo, told the Spectator
: “(Vodafone wasn’t) communicating when new problems were occurring or explaining what they were doing to solve them. The people in charge at Vodafone knew they were taking steps to solve these problems, but the problem was that noone else seemed to know. People do understand that things go wrong, but they want to be told when they go wrong, and they want to be spoken to honestly and fairly."
4. Don’t raise expectations that can’t be met.
Make sure your company is able to effectively deliver on its solution to rectify the problem.