#GASPfail and brand reputation in the time of social media

It's been hard not to miss the evolving debacle around GASP Jean's inexcusable customer experience since yesterday. For anyone who needs a refresher:

  • Keara O’Neil emailed GASP Jeans' regarding a disappointing interaction with a Melbourne store clerk
  • In response, she received an unapologetic email: "please do not waste our retail staff's time, because as you have already seen, they will not tolerate it... I respectfully ask that you side step our store during fture window shopping expeditions"
  • Which then went viral, on multiple social networks

If a niche brand like Gasp can experience this (already spreading overseas) social media crisis, SME's can't afford to be smug and complacent about their own position. While Gasp's customer experience response indicates the company has systemic issues to rectify, in addition to having a readiness plan for reacting to a social media scandal; 76% of such crises could have been prevented if companies had proactively prepared for them.

For example, Gasp fail squarely into the #1 reason for a social media crisis:

In summary, business's should be on the social networks your customer is on; if they can't afford to maintain ongoing brand-building conversations with them, alteast have a plan of action in the event something goes awry:

  1. Foundation: First, develop a business plan and put governance in place.
  2. Safety: Then, get organized by anointing a team and process to deal with crises.
  3. Formation: Next, connect business units to increase coordination and reduce duplication.
  4. Enablement: Grow by letting them prosper – give business units the support and flexibility to reach goals
  5. Enlightenment: Finally, weave real-time market response into business processes and planning.

Source: statistics and report from Altimeter Group.

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