April 23, 2014 Michael Bickerton
One of the most interesting changes in today’s business environment is that of forgiveness. It’s truly interesting given the past years mentality of “perfection”, when the largest of brands launch products and services that are less than perfect, but mistakes happen to us all.
Companies also are more tolerant of changes and corrections mid stream than ever before. Is it a result of the pace of change? Or a result of the flexibility of making changes on the go with internet marketing and online advertising? Or simply just the realization that mistakes happen? It’s my guess that it’s a culmination of these factors and others that all speak to human side of life. Mistakes happen, it’s just that simple so deal with it.
We’ve learned a lot through social media, we are more alike than we care to admit at times. Being human, open, honest and transparent are some of the features of living in a social media world. Fact is I like it, even with my narcissistic tendencies.
You may have heard that US Airways recently tweeted a graphic picture to a client in a twitter response to a customer service complaint. Frankly, not overly offensive to me personally, but to some I can imagine the image would be quite ghastly. In any event, suffice to say we have an American Airlines meeting Beaver Cleaver (joke here), you can see the image that was tweeted here.
As a matter of fact, it turns out that the image was tweeted originally to the social team at American Airlines and it was inadvertently reposted. Simple as that, no master plan, no employee malice, just a simple miss click of the mouse.
American Airlines dealt it with quickly in a quick, honest, transparent and professional approach, “We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.” A perfect response, in my opinion, not some great over reaction, just a simple mistake.
What really makes this a great story is that American Airlines did NOT fire the employee responsible for the “Beaver Cleaver Image”. Again, the airline, in an open, honest and transparent way took the issue at hand and noted to CNN, “It was an honest mistake and it was done while capturing the tweet and flagging it as inappropriate, our standard procedure,”
American Airlines deserves a “RAVEN5” (HIGH5) for standing up, taking charge, being human and standing by their employee. It’s a social world; we are operating in a world of just in time, or real time communication. It was a great job handling what some would refer to as a crisis (again an overused term crisis management). Mistakes happen, as Eddie Haskell used to say, “Hello Mrs. Cleaver, How’s the Beaver?”
OK, let’s say I made that last quote up, but I’m certain that today more so than ever mistakes happen. It’s how you deal with them when they occur that shows a company’s real character and commitment to social. Ward Cleaver put it best, “Yeah, well, that’s one of the advantages of being a kid – the biggest problem in your life seldom lasts more than twenty-four hours.” This applies in many ways to social as well.
Here’s a clip for your daily smile, a kinder and gentler time in many aspects.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd., Oakville, ON April 2014