Reputation management: RIM should seek PR advice

Reputation management: RIM should seek PR advice

Anna Heaton

Anna Heaton

This week hasn’t been great for BlackBerry or RIM’s reputation. With severe blackouts reported worldwide, affecting services such as BlackBerry Messenger and email, extreme inconvenience has hit Blackberry users, especially those who depend on the technology for their business and staff. Millions of BlackBerry users have entered their third day of an internet blackout, with no word on when the service will be restored. This isn’t good reputation management – the industry mantra when faced with a crisis is, ‘tell it all, tell it fast, tell it now’. RIM is not telling anyone anything...two tweets during three days of blackout?

Social media has been rife with complaints, with many people threatening to turn their backs on BlackBerry and make the move to iPhone or Android. Since I switched to the smartphone world a few years ago, I’ve always had a BlackBerry and have never looked back. But when the recent blackouts began, I felt worryingly lost without instant access to Facebook, my work emails and BBM. But what really irritated me was the fact that answers weren’t communicated, as RIM declined to comment on the situation, as reported by the national media.

It’s really important businesses are honest and transparent, and keep their customers’ best interests at heart - showing failure isn’t always as bad as they might think! Clearly there was a fault with connectivity and I found it frustrating that these faults were not made public. The RIM Twitter page remained almost silent, at a time when it should have been constantly active. An explanation, even through social media channels, would have made me much more accepting of the problem, as we all understand that technology can be temperamental – even for huge corporate companies such as RIM.

Has my love of BlackBerry been affected? Well, as a loyal user, I haven’t considered switching my phone, but it’s really made me think about reputation management and how important it is, even for the well-established big brands. It’s definitely given me some food for thought this week.

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