If you are going to eat shit, don't nibble. - Ben Horowitz
I would have expected the first decision in the WAR room to put out an apology immediately. They did not create a media BAR and did not put out daily updates focusing on a defining a narrative, instead they allowed social media to control the narrative. From a crisis communication perspective, I don't think they hit the mark (I did like the social media push showing pilot passing out coffee). DOT does not get a pass either because they were briefed on Southwest's archaic system months ago and did nothing. The mainstream media is pushing an anti-southwest story but there are others to blame as well. I do wonder how a comms team deals with egos in that environment though. Maybe you can host a podcast with the SW comms team next year to learn about what happened in the WAR room.
Excellent guidance covering just about every step in the process. I’d only add that sometimes lawyers will contend that an apology is an admission of guilt, making the organization more vulnerable to litigation. In most states, however, courts have ruled that an apology and legal guilt are separate and not connected.
Has anyone amassed any data concerning which types of apologies best retain flyers? Customers, if not analyzing apologies from an airline? Have any apologies increased the number of customers/
All of this is so on point. I also wish in these instances airlines would try to redirect customer anger away from gate agents and other frontline staff. They're the ones who have to deal with irate customers and all the screaming and even abuse that comes with it. The CEO could more directly state that he/she understands that customers are upset but it's not the pilot's, flight attendant's, or gate agent's fault -- it's theirs.
“If you are going to eat shit, don’t nibble”....wow, what a quote! I do like the point about personally owning up to the situation and not half-assing the apology
Solid walkthrough. Appreciate the memes #happygilmore should be a mantra for 23’?
Here we are, a few days later, with both the CEO and and the CCO having apologized a number of times over a number of different channels.
What’s worse - no apology, an insincere apology, or one delivered 2-3 days late? Does that late one automatically appear insincere?
Personally, I’d have been counseling an immediate acknowledgement on social, a heartfelt apology video at the 24hr mark (not teleprompter-fed, even if it took 25 takes), and open doors to media interviews - much to the legal team’s chagrin, I imagine. Sometimes the message, along with the “acts of contrition,” can keep the bleeding to a minimum and prevent further damage to the company’s reputation.
Consumers are amazingly forgiving IF the offender shows genuine contrition. The popular non apology apology is worse than no apology. Rip the bandaid off and let the healing begin rather than drag it out and risk destroying the accumulated decades of goodwill.