SocialEntertainment

Customer complaints; a PR stunt?

pr scam

… Do they work anyway?

“So and so telecom company, your internet or voice bundle offers are a scam!”, “Am I the only one finding this whole new [Insert any company name]’s offer absolutely trash because i feels like us the customers are being cheated?” statements are such a common thing of late and if you have been on social media for some time you should be quite familiar with seeing comments and posts such as these. Where customers post online when they get an issue with a product or service providers in an either situation for being overly charged, poorly served or even being given a broken copy of the product. That is what we call “Bad PR” more of bad publicity. You see, it is very important that every cooperation has a PR Manager or Officer because they are play a big role of handling the company’s affairs in terms of how it connects with the public; passing on communications on behalf of the company and the likes. Handling customer complaints inclusive in there.

Receiving bad publicity has always been a double-edged sword for companies. There’s always been an old maxim that all publicity good or bad is good publicity. But this differs; it could work if a company is just starting out, it could help it with how much exposure the whole outburst will bring it. However, if it is an already established major cooperation this could cost it a lot. An illustration of such was when Tuscan Wine that could go for $60 was negatively reviewed by an online popular reviewer relating and likening its smell to that of “stinky stocks”. Their sales would be quick to fall you would think but the reverse is actually true as its reported that the company actually got a 5% increase in their sales thereafter. You see, this Wine company was relatively an unknown one and so was its product, so this negative review by an online reviewer’s mention of it instead of suffering from the ill effects of this evaluation, it instead brought more product awareness to the public about it, and little memory of the bad assessment hence giving it that push that it really needed to get the people’s attention and hence the sales shift.

However when bad PR happens to a huge multi national or even home based company, it’s usually gross in terms of effects in its sales and popularity among consumers. One such a case was back in the year 1985 when Coca Cola decided to change the taste of their drink to a sweeter version. They branded the drink as ‘New Coke’ and sent it out into the world. Well, it took just three months for them to realise that they had made the biggest mistake of their drinks making career. They received thousands of phone calls, over 40,000 letters of complaints and a ridiculous amount of bad press, so they decided to revert back to the original taste and branded it as Coca Cola Classic. It got so much attention that TV show General Hospital, was even interrupted so that they could announce the news, and sales for the much-missed fizzy drink soared through the roof! This is a one scenario where bad PR nearly led to the decline of a company but eventually brought them back to the top and now a leading soft drinks company worldwide. So is Bad PR bad or it’s just a necessary evil that every organization has to try out once in their business life running?

Another company facing the biggest constraints in international markets and domestically is SAN FRANCISCO based transportation service provider — Uber as it has been described as one with a reputation problem; following a string of scandals, including customer complaints right from the collection of fares, overly priced fares, delay by some riders and there were allegations that its culture promoted sexual harassment. During a taxi strike which prompted a social media movement to #DeleteUber ” and as a result of this campaign, hundreds of thousands of consumers stopped using the Uber platform within days of the campaign,” Uber wrote in its public filings. The reaction to Uber’s strikebreaking was swift. #DeleteUber continued to trend, as people went on to encourage one another not only to delete the app from their phones, but also to cancel their Uber accounts. Many of those angry at the company recommended switching to Lyft, an Uber competitor in the US.

As Uber’s reputation has continued to struggle — and taken a toll on revenue growth — the company made sweeping changes to streamline its marketing efforts and trim costs over the years. In Uber’s filing before its initial public offering in May, it detailed the need to maintain and enhance its brand and reputation as critical to the company’s future success. “We have previously received significant media coverage and negative publicity, particularly in 2017, regarding our brand and reputation, and failure to rehabilitate our brand and reputation will cause our business to suffer,” Uber said in its stock market filing. Uber’s brand dilemma complicates its already rocky start as a public company. Uber is now worth $55 billion, more than 40 percent less than the high end of its projected price tag before it went public. Investor pressure to make money has heightened as Uber reported its largest quarterly loss ever — $5.2 billion — earlier in August. Somehow amidst all this publicity and buzz about Uber, it somehow survives since there are people who get to know of it when they hear or read someone’s complaints when it arises therefore it sets the business back and forth in terms of profits and expansion to its potential clients.

The most recent one I personally figured out must have been by some bar, restaurant and lounge here in my country that posted a photo of a one public figure in one of their commercial social media post that had been taken from a previous theme event that happens there every Sunday. So as the public figure started with her law suet threats about why they had used her photo minus her consent, the bar owners played it cool, eventually prompting her to keep threatening and being that the lady in question has a huge social media following and influence, more and more people got drawn to this place. Eventually the bar now gets full houses each time. It was already a big deal before but after this came up, it got elevated by far in terms of clientele turn up and sales and prominence.

Lastly, another of the commonest PR stunts done is mostly by telecommunications community. is raising the cost of their offers/ deals. But before we go any further, telecom companies have the best PR be it good or bad and they achieve this by making controversial advertisements; one such case was a recent one where a new handset was launched and in their AD, a man is portrayed as evading a lady’s space in attempt to talk and win her over which greatly didn’t go well with the feminist community. Thus might appear as inappropriate but the fact that it got them talking and having them condemn this advert openly somehow helped spread the company’s word about this handset that had been launched. In another instant this that I am not sure if this is done directly or indirectly but one thing is for sure the noise of one unhappy customer that goes out online or even in a conversation about that particular brand’s offering has a potential to stay on the person who feeds on the information’s mind. You see when people complain about say slow internet speeds, the company responds to their query and if all goes well, they maintain the customer. If they do not react accordingly, the aggravated customer will be forced to bash them online be it through a tweet or Facebook post and so to avoid such from happening they so respond accordingly but there are those that risk it all and do nothing about it. Word gets out there and some already existing subscribers will adjust accordingly and those who didn’t know about the offering will bow be aware of its existence. You see, its a double edged sword like I mentioned; brands just have to be strategic with how they carry out their PR regardless of whether it is good or bad publicity, if they are to win more and stay in business.

Otherwise, till then, I remain
Yours truly,
Mugibson