FedEx Customer Video Turned Good PR

ginidietrich
Gini Dietrich Chief Executive Officer, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

Posted on January 13th 2012

FedEx Customer Video Turned Good PR


Let’s talk about a good response to a customer service, turned social media, crisis, shall we?

During the holidays, a video showed a FedEx delivery man throwing a computer monitor over the gate and onto the lawn of a customer.

The scary thing is it’s actually in a computer monitor box, not a FedEx box, so he knew it was fragile. He didn’t try to open the gate or ring the bell. He just threw it over the gate. And it broke.

The person who lives in that house must have the same “neighborly” issues we have because he has a security camera on the front gate. And the “delivery” was captured on video. 

Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Clearly this is not a PR or social media crisis. It is a customer service crisis. But, like we talked about with Papa John’s and Boners BBQ yesterday, it was turned into a PR crisis when the customer posted the video on YouTube (which got five million views in five days).

What did FedEx do, in return?

They did NOT ignore the video. They did NOT ignore the crisis. They did NOT stick their heads in the sand and pretend the video (that now has nine million views) doesn’t exist.

They took to YouTube and created their own video. Just like Domino’s did in 2008 when a YouTube video of a franchisee’s employees sneezing and spitting in food went viral.

In a blog post accompanying an embedded version of their video, Matthew Thornton, III, senior VP of  FedEx Express U.S. Operations, said:

As the leader of our pickup and delivery operations across America, I want you to know that I was upset, embarrassed, and very sorry for our customer’s poor experience. This goes directly against everything we have always taught our people and expect of them. It was just very disappointing.

He goes on to describe what they did for the customer and how they’re using the video in employee training to make sure these kinds of things don’t happen.

Here is the video of the Thornton’s apology.

Customers and employees weighed in on the blog post, most citing positive examples or stories about being grateful for working at FedEx.

The lesson? Always answer with a real apology. Not a “I’m sorry, but…” apology, but a real one. And answer it on the same social network where the crisis is happening.

FedEx did this exactly right. And in the right amount of time. They described the issue, said what had been resolved and how they were using this as a lesson going forward, and apologized.

Every, single one of us makes mistakes. It’s in how we handle them that is remembered.

ginidietrich

Gini Dietrich

Chief Executive Officer, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

Gini Dietrich is the founder and chief executive officer of Arment Dietrich, Inc., a firm that uses non-traditional marketing in a digital world. The author of Spin Sucks, the 2010 Readers Choice Blog of the Year, a Top 42 Content Marketing Blog from Junta42, a top 10 social media blog from Social Media Examiner, and an AdAge Power 150 blog, Gini has delivered numerous keynotes, panel discussions, coaching sessions, and workshops across North America on the subject of using online technology in communication, marketing, sales, and HR. One of the top rated communication professionals on the social networks, Gini was recently named the number one PR person, according to Klout and TechCrunch, on the channels, and number one on Twitter, according to TweetLevel. She also can be found writing at Crain's Chicago Business, AllBusiness, and Franchise Times.
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Comments

Great article about the importance to have your eyes open and to have good reflects. However, although this is a man's fault, I see an apology using youtube (similar to dominos) but only an apology (different to dominos that tried so hard to show that they changed). Plus, I saw that the "apology video" created a mass of customers' complaints and I think that this try to "turn over" the situation, gave the chance to people to express their dissapointment as much they could. What do you think?

Yes it's true that this situation gave more people the opportunity or confidence to complain about FedEx services. But this is what it means to have customer engagement in today's social media world. The fear that "a mass of customers' complaints" will be created if a company tries to remedy a situation should not prevent that company from doing the right thing in terms of public relations.

Regarding your comment: "but only an apology (different to Dominos that tried so hard to show that they changed).... I think FedEx reacted 100% correctly by posting an apology, and firing that idiotic employee. Furthermore, no other actions by FedEx are necessary [internally or externally]. There's no amount of training that could prevent someone from throwing a fragile box. Why do I say this? Because you don't need to be trained to be careful with shipments - care with other people's property is based on common-sense and a respect for other people. Bad apples exist everywhere. I would not be surprised if this guy does similar things in his private life when he's not working.

This FedEx example and the Dominos example, are demonstrative of how social media is changing or refining the free market today. Companies can not ignore this new opportunity to connect/engage with their customers for CRM. We at AgooBiz.com believe that social networks are far more successful at gauging "the word on the street" than traditional surveys ever did. Companies [large and small] should pay more attention to Social Media if they want to be profitable.

Steve Kavetsky
Co-Founder
AgooBiz.com // The Social Commerce Network
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