Proactively Using Social Media To Tackle Customer Service Issues-Nazar Kamangar/bridge consulting blogs
With the prevalence of social media, it is imperative that companies respond well to potential customer issues. However, it is equally important that a company also responds quickly. About a year ago, two very large companies experienced serious data breaches which compromised personal customer information, including credit card numbers. They handled these situations very differently, and as such, were perceived very differently by both their customer base, and by consumers at large. Here’s a look at what to do and what not to do when it comes to proactively handling a data breach with the available social media tools.
Even people who don’t play video games probably remember the utter catastrophe that befell Sony and its Playstation network last year. A group of hackers who were unhappy with how Sony was handling the prosecution of another alleged hacker decided to bring attention to holes in the Playstation network by essentially crashing the entire system. Puzzlingly, Sony didn’t make an announcement about why the system was down, and so the hackers publicly announced that they were responsible for the system crash. Sony ended their silence long enough to deny this was the case, claiming the system was just undergoing maintenance.
However, for all its reach, the internet is a small place; buzz quickly spread about the attack, and Sony was forced to admit to GameSpot that they had potentially been targeted. After a week, Sony finally confirmed the hack, and only at this point in time did they reveal that they suspected customer account information, including credit card details, had fallen into unauthorized hands. Their customers were understandably livid; first the company had denied a potential breach, and then, it seemed, they had played down the seriousness of it. Sony is a company with a large social media presence; it would have been very easy for them to get the word out quickly about potential breaches, and its internet savvy customers felt betrayed by the lack of proactiveness. Their confidence was not regained by the CEO being vocally unapologetic about the delay in notification.
In an attempt to polish their tarnished reputation, Sony vowed to provide a year of free credit monitoring to affected users, as well as the opportunity to download several games within a limited period of time to apologize for the lengthy network outage. Unfortunately, any goodwill they might have earned from the free game offer was squandered when inconsistent information between their blog and Twitter led to the promotion ending hours ahead of the implied deadline.
In the midst of all the drama at Sony, thousands of customers received an email from Michael’s craft store stating they had potentially been the victims of a limited data breach. While the breach appeared to be limited to a particular geographic location, Michael’s took the initiative to warn their entire email list to be in touch with their banks on the off chance that data had been compromised.
Ironically, a year later, it’s the company that tried to cover up and downplay their data breach that still has the bigger black eye. So business owners, take heed. While it’s important to try and run a great business, sometimes mistakes do happen. If you find yourself in a situation where something in your business has gone awry, letting your customers know quickly will restore their confidence in you a lot faster than if you try to sweep it under the rug.