Social media is a lot less social

In a world where bad news can spread like wildfire it is more important than ever for companies to have PR folks available 24/7.

It only takes a few minutes for a disgruntled customer — and you know them, we’ve all been one — to rant and rave about a negative experience and tarnish a company’s reputation.

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter anybody who has thousands of “friends” around the world (most of whom they’ve never met, let’s be honest) can be broadcast and with “sharing” and “re-tweeting” that message can reach millions of people in a matter of hours.

If an organization doesn’t have front-line staff it could mean its reputation can take a hit real fast. Though even if there is a quick response, the wrong click can lead to major embarrassment.

A lot of big companies have standard response templates for common messages received. For example, questions about a warranty might be a regular message so dropping in the text is quicker than having someone manually write back to every message.

Unfortunately for Domino’s, a very happy customer praised the great food from the pizza restaurant and the company responded with an apology. Domino’s clearly “outed” itself by showing it doesn’t have someone physically writing messages and obviously selected or pasted the wrong canned response and posted it publicly on Facebook.

Basically the message was saying “sorry that you loved our food.”

The same thing happened to me a few months ago. I bought a product that I loved and wanted to interview someone on my syndicated radio shows. This was my way of saying, “Hey, I want you to talk about this because I loved it and want the world to know.” The response I got was thanking me for my interest however they couldn’t provide me a free product to write about on my blog. It’s a radio program and I already bought it though! Totally not where I was headed with my email to that company.

In the end, it made me mock the company’s response and turn what could have been wonderful PR into the company looking careless and inconsiderate – not to mention ungrateful – that I couldn’t get a personal response, much less acknowledgement for wanting to endorse their product.

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