You’ve worked hard to develop a unique product or service. You fully understand Edison’s quote that genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. But then, something goes wrong. Somewhere a flaw crops up. Perhaps it’s in the design, the manufactoring process, or somewhere else. Customers start to complain. Initially you ignore them, because you know you can’t please all the people all the time. But then, someone complains who has clout. Someone who has influence and can influence others to buy or not to buy your product. Before the blogosphere the liklihood that these people could make or break you was much less. But now, the buzz begins. What are you going to do? Who ya gonna call? (And it’s not Ghostbusters either.-) Peter Davidson writes in his blog, Be Connected about one such case involving a Casio camera. Read on and treat this as a case study that can offer you insight in case this happpens to you…
Peter makes several excellent suggestions about coping with a PR disaster. I agree, if you respond calmly and with a measured response you have the chance to short circuit a perception that could be traveling around the Internet for years. A few thousand words posted on various blogs and Web sites, including yours, apologizing when necessary, and outlining the steps you will be taking to correct the flaw could save you thousands of dollars in lost sales. George Orwell was wrong, Ignorance is not bliss.
If you were a potential customer and heard about a problem with a product’s reliability you might search the Internet, right? So would people who might do business with you. Do you want all the Google entries about your product’s problem or the myth related to your product’s problem to be one-sided? Of course not. You want many of those entries to contain your responses.
I’m an admirer of Dale Carnegie. He said two things which apply here. “When you’re wrong admit it quickly and emphatically.” He also said, “ninety percent of all management problems are caused by miscommunication.” Don’t miscommunicate with your customers and potential customers.
Even if you run a neighborhood business that wouldn’t be impacted by the blogosphere, your relationships with your customers are too important to let either a mistake or an untruth go uncorrected.
Like the man said, “Don’t just sit there, do something!”
“Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”
—Joe Theismann, when asked if then 49er coach Bill Walsh was a genius.