Turning Around A Bad News Business Story
April 14, 2015 2 Comments
There is no doubt that social media can take a bad news business story and spread it around quickly, but can you recover from a bad news story? Here is an example of one business story that went viral and how it demonstrates a bad and a good outcome.
The thing that makes this business story powerful for individuals like you and me is that the customer did what most of us would have done. We can see ourselves in exactly the same predicament and experiencing the same disappointment… we can relate!
The Bad News Story
The story is simple… which is the best kind.
Recently, CTV News reported that during a nation-wide promotional contest a customer rolled up the lip of their beverage cup to find the tab said they won a $100 store gift card. The customer then did what most of us would have done – and perhaps have done in the past; they removed the tab with the winning notice and threw away the dirty cup.
Unfortunately, the customer was unaware of a new (and little-known), contest rule to claim their winning. The rule that even some franchisee owners didn’t know of was that winners have to present both the tab and a PIN number which was written somewhere on the cup.
As a result the $100 prize was not offered and the customer was disappointed.
The Good News Story
A franchisee owner of this coffee chain heard about what happened. His response was to give the customer a $100 gift card anyway.
Because of the simple and quick actions of the franchisee owner, I bet the owner has received a constant flow of compliments from family, friends and customers. I suspect he also has solidified customer loyalty throughout his community and beyond (not to mention an incalculable amount of free advertising).
In addition, it would not surprise me that the franchisee owner has chalked up a partial recovery for the reputation of the coffee chain. I hope there is a steady stream of well deserved thanks coming his way from the other franchisee owners no matter what city/province they are in.
There are powerful lessons for business owners in these two stories.
First lesson is to be careful with your marketing messages and managing customer expectations. Poor communication can backfire.
If you are introducing change, know that in most cases change takes time to be absorbed – especially when small, familiar things are changing. As Nobel Prize winner and Professor Daniel Kahneman outlines in his bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, our human brains are designed to filter out ‘the familiar’ so we can focus our attention on things that are new and/or important and which therefore may need higher-level reasoning.
Second lesson is that most mistakes can be made into a win if you move quickly and take ownership of them and engage in empathy and compassion as you respond.
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