Obviously, I read newspapers daily and I observe PR crisis every day too. Would you be surprised if I told you that a majority of them were created by PR?
With online activities dominating our lifestyle, every individual has the ability to create a big PR crisis. Unfortunately, a number of PRs firmly believe in this old mindset; a customer’s complaint is just a complaint. They neglect their role of playing gate keepers.
Recently, I had a conversation with a very senior PR professional from an internationally renowned PR agency. I mentioned that we have to deal with crisis on a day-to-day basis as a majority of the clients I handle are within the travel & tourism sector. The feedback left me slightly taken aback, “Complaints are to be handled by customer service, it’s not a PR business or concern.”
It’s better to prepare, sense a potential crisis and resolve it immediately then to try and pick up the pieces of a complaint that has gone viral and been picked up by media. Surprisingly, this happens time and time again in Hong Kong due to ignorance and a lack of understanding by the PR.
We are in the age of PR 3.0 – Branding is about sharing belief, lifestyle and philosophy to customers. They are not only buying your product or service, but your attitude too. It is our job as a PR to buy into the brand’s value because if we don’t do it ourselves, the customer won’t either.