Did You Get My Email?

By , November 4, 2011

These days, BlackBerry users have a good excuse for not answering emails sent by their friends or business associates – because chances are, they never got it.

According to MSNBC, a system-wide failure has left millions of frustrated BlackBerry users on five continents without email, instant messaging and browsing.

A class-action lawsuit was filed this week in both the USA and Canada on behalf of affected BlackBerry users. Messages left with RIM, BlackBerry’s parent company, by MSNBC seeking comment were not returned.

While many find it disturbing that they can no longer reliably access their BlackBerry emails, I find it more disturbing that RIM has not come out to clearly address the issue or show how it’s taking a proactive approach to deal with the situation.

If I were the CEO of RIM, I’d be studying the corporate PR playbook right now and taking my cue from JetBlue Airways.

In 2007, a massive snowstorm swept through the Northeast and paralyzed airports throughout the region – which resulted in numerous JetBlue aircraft filled with passengers being stranded on the snowy tarmac at JFK airport for up to 11 hours without food, water or working bathrooms.

The resulting public outrage and media scrutiny threatened to send the company into a critical tailspin – until they came to the realization that ignoring the situation was not a viable option.
JetBlue founder and CEO David Neeleman took a proactive approach by publicly apologizing for leaving thousands of customers stranded during the snowstorm.

He appeared on television to personally extend his apologies to the public, recorded a YouTube video addressed to JetBlue customers, and issued a passenger bill of rights – the first of its a kind for an airline company – to show how serious JetBlue was about making things right.

The fact is, you don’t have to be in the airline or technology business to recognize the importance of these strategic moves. They apply to every company, in every industry, during every situation.

  • Accept Full Responsibility: Immediately after the incident, JetBlue accepted full responsibility. They also made it known why the incident occurred and portrayed it in a more positive light. “JetBlue tried to do their best and keep the system rolling during the snowstorm so as not to disappoint customers,” said one spokesperson. “So their heart was in the right place, but their head was not.”
  • Make It Right: In the wake of the snowstorm fiasco, JetBlue rolled out a customer bill of rights which promised vouchers to fliers who experienced delays and pledged to deplane passengers when an aircraft is delayed on the ground for more than five hours.
  • Always Stay Positive: While JetBlue stressed how apologetic they were, the company also affirmed their renewed pledge to bettering their services and successfully convinced the public to continue patronizing the airline company because there would be a drastic improvement in the future.

The bottom line? We all make mistakes – its how we deal with them that makes all the difference.

I’d love to hear how you’ve successfully resolved mistakes within your business. Feel free to reply below or just send me a quick email…especially if you’re using a BlackBerry.

Onwards and upwards,

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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