Thursday, October 27, 2011

BlackBerry downtime illustrates reputation risks of social media

The risks of using social media for critical service announcements were highlighted yesterday (10th October) when BlackBerry posted notices of downtime on various social media channels.

BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were unable to use email, BBM and various other services due to a major fault. To inform users of the incident, Blackberry chose to utilise social media, posted a message stating:

“Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues. We're investigating, and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

This basic message resulted in a stream of abuse and negative comments, with 2,500+ messages being posted on Facebook alone.

The incident shows that companies need to think very carefully about whether unrestricted social media is an appropriate medium for customer service information.

If organizations decide to go down this route, it is critical that messages are not just posted and left; they must be monitored and customer care employees must proactively engage with customer responses.

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