Traditionally a customer that has a problem with a product or service would follow a set of guidelines. Call customer support, complete a form, wait on hold and if unhappy with the response, call a consumer regulator. At this point the customer may be frustrated, annoyed, and may have feelings of resent toward the product/service and its respective organisation. The customer cannot speak their mind to anyone within the company as the only front is customer support. There is nowhere for them to share their experience, only amongst friends, family and colleagues.
The same can happen with an employee within an organisation who is frustrated and wants to vent their thoughts or take revenge. They can share gossip or share experiences with fellow staff.
The game has changed.
Domino’s pizza has a good online presence with a YouTube channel,twitter account, a Myspace and Facebook profile. But it also had 2 disgruntled employees who posted a revolting video of food preparation at Domino’s store. The video was uploaded to YouTube spread in hours, viewed 500,000 times after being removed by YouTube.
Twitter registered hundreds of posts every hour on the incident, not to mention the thousands of people following these posts. Add potentially 200 other social media networks and traditional web media, the result was catastrophic to the brand.
A consumer survey taken prior to this incident showed that 46% of respondents would order home delivery in the next three months. The response following the video release showed that only 15% would order Domino’s delivery.
The company was relatively quick to respond to this and ironically used the same media to respond to the incident, YouTube. The President of Domino’s, Patrick Doyle created a video, apologising for the incident and explaining that the video was a hoax. Following this video the company was able to salvage some of its profile, but the effects are long lasting.
The lesson to learn is that all organisations are vulnerable, Domino’s already had a good online presence, the impact would be far worse for an organisation that had not become involved in these communities. They would have a channel to present their emergency communications, and had they acted faster, the impact of the incident may have been somewhat dampened.