So it’s only been a few hours since my post on Delta Airlines snafu with a group of soldier’s over baggage fees which turned into a viral / pr crises in just a few hours. Not only is the issue all over Twitter, Facebook and news sites but the video from the soldier’s has passed 200,000 views at last count.
So while my first post was really about empowering your ground-level employees to avoid bad customer experiences, whether they go viral or not, Delta has turned this into a great example of how you should handle social incidents.
While nothing can erase the negative impact this will leave, Delta’s social [and business] teams have been on their toes and acting quick to avoid making this into a “United Airlines Breaks Guitar” hit. Sure the PR will continue against them, more articles will come, it won’t be good but for an organization of this site and legacy, they’re playing their cards well. Let’s take a look…
- Yesterday a video was posted about an issue costing 38 soldiers $2800 in fees. As quick as the video became shared, Delta was in the mix with a response from “Rachel” apologizing & reaffirming the policy just before midnight EST.
- This morning Delta wakes up to see it’s full-blown-viral with major social network and media coverage creating over 200,000 YouTube views.
- By 1pm EST Rachel has an updated post with an updated policy: 4 checked bags for military traveling in economy on orders. The post reaffirms Delta’s involvement & programs for the military. And Rachel also threw in a personal statement as an Army wife and 12 year employee of Delta.
It’s been less than 24 hours and Delta has out two blog posts, has changed a world-wide policy and has allowed a personal message to float into the middle of it.
Like I said, this won’t end the problem and frankly, adjusting one policy does not fix the underlying issue where the system often prevents employee from making the “right” decision but Delta has taken a strong step to mitigating the issue and, more importantly, having a voice in the spread of it every step of the way.
By moving quickly blogs, tweets, mainstream media are all adjusting their story to mention Delta’s response and changes while the story is hot. As hard as it is, this is critical and very well executed by Delta… The longer you wait, the colder the issue and the less your response is seen so, from a social crises management perspective, kudos to their social team for being on top of the video, their business for being flexible enough to run and make a decision when one needed to be made — even if it’s just one gesture it’s a big one at the right time.
For more thoughts on crises communication management in a social world, check out my previous post about the Urban Outfitters social media incident.