A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the FedEx delivery seen around the world – you know, the one where a FedEx employee is caught on a surveillance camera tossing what turns out to be flat-screen monitor over the fence of the package recipient. WOW… Surely this was not the first-of-its-kind delivery technique, but still – bad for FedEx and anyone who delivers (or receives) through FedEx.
At first, it was unclear whether this particular toss-it-over-the-fence employee would be tossed out of his job, with a FedEx spokeswoman stating, “this won’t be his best day.”
FedEx handled this major faux pas quickly and swiftly, replacing the customer’s monitor for free, countering the bad customer with a YouTube apology, and incorporating this employee’s poor customer service and delivery technique in its training program.
FedEx’s PR team did a great job in averting what could have been very bad publicity for the company, by following some basic strategies:
1. Address situation/ crisis immediately – Respond to any incidents quickly. As soon as you become aware of the problem, immediately acknowledge, address, and assess. Don’t do what BP (British Petroleum) did with the oil spill in the Gulf a couple of years ago, taking months to address the public on the spill (not that we didn’t notice or anything). The longer you ignore a potentially bad situation, the worse it gets.
2. Don’t send “clouded” messages through a spokesperson – If a representative from your company must respond, make sure it’s a direct representative, and not a PR agent from the agency you’ve hired. It always bugs me when a company hides behind a spokesperson not directly involved with the company in crisis. If a member of your in-house PR team must speak on behalf of the company, it’s also probably best practice, for the president, founder, owner, CEO, etc. to take up the spokesperson reins soon after. People want to know that the head honchos are in touch, and truly care.
3. Immediate remediation – Restore any damage and resolve the problem. Don’t squabble over whose fault it really was! Good customer service, and consequently good PR solves the problem as best as it can. Replace a damaged product, extend a membership, give a complimentary service. That wins people over, because you have stood behind all your marketing promises and service claims, and have ultimately demonstrated that the core of your business is indeed people! Actions speaks louder than words.