The results of a survey of Fortune 500 companies, announced in August, found that social media commitment is consistently increasing across the board. Key results:
- 73% of Fortune 500 companies have Twitter accounts, an increase of 11% over last year
- 66% have a corporate Facebook page, an increase of 8% over 2011
- 62% are using YouTube
- 28% use an external corporate blog, an increase of 5% over 2011
- 2% use Pinterest
- 23% have neither a Twitter account nor a Facebook page, down from 31% in 2011.
The survey was conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Society for New Communications Research.
How ‘moral decoupling’ enables consumers to justify supporting a tarnished brand
What happens when public idols tarnish their record? Think of Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods. Researchers have found that some consumers disassociate performance on the field from actions conducted away from the public arena. This is called ‘moral decoupling.’ It separates morality from performance. Ultimately, moral decoupling allows the consumer to think what they want to think. The concept helps to explain why sponsors and consumers may still support a fallen idol’s brand.
Source: Knowledge@Wharton newsletter, 12 September 2012.
Nothing else matters much if your customer service is poor
BL Ochman’s latest email newsletter reminded me that PR can’t overcome bad customer service. She had a poor experience with UPS in the United States.
I had a poor customer experience in my own country. I needed a new desktop computer keyboard when my existing one crashed permanently. The online stock list of Officeworks, our biggest national office supplies company, showed the keyboard was in stock. I went to two outlets to find it wasn’t in stock. A sales assistant suggested I order online, but the ordering process was faulty and I couldn’t complete the order. Finally I phoned the national help desk who promised delivery next day – but delivery took an extra day. So the purchase of a simple over-the-counter product took four days – and I couldn’t use my computer at all during that time. Grrr!
A consumer survey of service levels in major Australian department stores last month found customers of the two biggest national department stores had to wait up to 15 minutes for a sales assistant to even notice them. And their product knowledge was limited. Under-staffing has a great deal to do with this chronic poor service. The Jan-Feb issue of Harvard Business Review detailed several case studies in which large retailers applied an enlightened staffing policy to their retail operations and found that paying customer-serving staff more and employing more sales staff paid off in handsome profits. But the standard thinking in most retailers is merely a knee-jerk approach to cutting costs by cutting staff and putting many in dead-end jobs. This creates a vicious circle.
If you are in a PR role, you need to keep an eye on operational performance, especially customer service, because actions speak louder than words, and therefore nothing we can say can counteract consistent bad service. The reputation of the organization depends mainly on operational performance, and therefore we should stick our noses in and get involved where poor customer service is affecting corporate reputation. This may be a sensitive area, so you need to be careful with the politics, but the effort is worthwhile because ultimately your own outcomes will suffer if customer service is below standard.
Until next time,
Principal, Cutting Edge PR