Do you have a crisis management plan? Want an example of what NOT to do when it comes to a public relations disaster? Amy’s Baking Company, recently featured on the TV show Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, pretty much did everything you want to avoid when it comes to PR and customer service. You can see clips and read the full story at Eater.com, but to sum it up:
Amy and Samy Bouzaglo — owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona — blamed everyone for their troubles, including “haters” and “bloggers,” but not themselves. The owners did not give service staff tips (pocketing the money instead) and admitted to having fired over 100 employees in less than a year. Said Ramsay: ‘After about 100 Kitchen Nightmares, I met two owners I could not help, it is because they are incapable of listening.'”
What happened then? They took to social media! Buzzfeed shares their embarrassingly terrible Facebook posts, including:
- Samy and I will stand strong through the oppression that has been thrown at us. We ask that our supporters keep us in their prayers, through this rough and unjust time in our lives. Thank all of you, and thank God. We will not bend to the will of these haters and sinners.
- I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO RESELL THINGS WALMART DOES NOT MAKE THEIR ELECTRONICS OR TOYS SO LAY OFF!!!!!
- WE DO NOT NEED THIS. YOU STUPID PEOPLE. AMERICA IS ABOUT RESSLING, IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL. THE CAKES WE OFFER ARE EXPENSIVE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO REPACKAGE AND SHIP. DO NOT BLAME US BECAUSE YOU CAN NOT AFFORD QUALITY. THE YELPERS, AND NOW THE REDDITS, NEED TO BACK OFF. YOURE NOT RIGHT JUST BECAUSE OF SOME TV SHOW.
And so on and so on…
Public Relations and Customer Service Lessons
A later article on Eater.com reports the restaurant is claiming they were hacked. Whether or not that’s true, there are several public relations and customer service lessons you can fold into your own crisis management plan.
- Learn how to take criticism. Even if it’s unsolicited, it’s not uncommon to get negative feedback. Before getting defensive, think about what the problem is and try to figure out a way to fix it. Obviously you can’t solve every problem and you can’t make everyone happy, but by learning from those that do criticize you will ultimately make your customer service – and your business – that much better.
- Think before you post. It’s easy to hop on your social media networks and post an emotional update in the heat of the moment. Before it goes live, take a step back and think about what you wrote. Will you regret it tomorrow?
- Take ownership. As Daffne explained in her post about building a crisis management plan last week, “Whether a situation is your company’s fault or not, taking ownership makes all the difference in the public eye. In the fall of 1982, Johnson & Johnson kicked their crisis management plan into motion when someone tampered with Tylenol bottles at a market, which resulted in seven deaths. Even though Johnson & Johnson was not responsible, their ownership of the problem resulted in safer medicine regulations nationwide.”
What do you think? As a business owner, do you have a crisis management plan? What public relations and customer service lessons do you take away from the Amy’s Baking Company meltdown?
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