How to handle a crisis

How to handle a crisis

This past few weeks have played host to a number of high profile technology failures with major issues affecting banks in the RBS group and more recently with the nationwide failure of the O2 phone network.

Whilst the banks’ responses to their crises were admirable – opening branches on weekends and vowing to cover any financial losses incurred as a result of their failure – it has been completely eclipsed by the efforts of O2 and its social media team.

After its whole network failed on Wednesday a substantial number of its 23 million users in the UK turned to Twitter to vent their frustration at the @O2 account.

Faced with such an onslaught of criticism many firms would decide to batten down the hatches, play defensive and wait for the issues to be resolved, but not O2.

Rather than producing stock explanations and firing out saccharin sweet apologies, the responses played consumers at their own game by offering helpful advice and updates intertwined with humour.

For confrontational tweets the responses carefully mirrored the tone of the original message which helped diffuse any conflict and gain the support of a number of neutral bystanders like myself. For example:

The sheer number of re-tweets for the response demonstrates how it is possible to turn what could be seen as a worst-case scenario for a company into positive PR outcomes.

As you can see from the following tweets it’s not rocket science, you simply need to listen to what people are saying and respond as a human.

But an outstanding sense of humour also helps!

Here are a selection of some of the more memorable exchanges. As they replied to anything that was sent to them reader discretion is advised:

Defusing abuse

Defusing abuse

Responding to praise

Responding to praise

Playing the users at their own game

Playing the users at their own game

Responding to random mentions

Responding to random mentions

ENGAGING WITH MEMES (and caps lock)

ENGAGING WITH MEMES (and caps lock)

  • Defusing abuse
  • Responding to praise
  • Playing the users at their own game
  • Responding to random mentions
  • ENGAGING WITH MEMES (and caps lock)

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