Poor crisis response…grrr

So yes… everyone’s talking about it, well lots of people in my office (I sit in the IT section). SonyPlaystation Network – what a shame.

But I’m not here to have a go at them for not doing enough to protect their users’ data (mine included, so I do have a right to have an opinion) this is a PR blog.

No, what I’m here for is to have a go at them for their handling of the matter.

In today’s world of immediate news, social networking and two way communication who on earth told Sony that it’s OK to respond to a crisis situation by responding with ‘No Comment’?!

OK, so they have actually released a bit more information than that now – 6 maybe 7 days later – but it’s too late. The information that they’ve released is so watery that the 70million* users affected don’t know whether to panic or shrug their shoulders….and it’s inevitable that when faced with the option of panic or brushing something off the majority of people will err on the side of caution and start to worry. Worry leads to anger, leads to vocalisation of fears, leads to a hell of a lot of bad publicity – more than enough bad publicity to drown out the weak whispers of we think hackers may have stolen this… we’ll rebuild the network…sometime.

The point is that this is a massive screw up. Yes Sony’s credibility and reputation has taken a huge hit– but peoples’ personal information, not to mention their faith in Sony, has also been abused.

So act like you give a toss about those people Sony, not yourselves.

I think, at the very least, a vague attempt to communicate should be made. Apologise, assure people – firmly and calmly – that you’re doing everything you can and that you will keep people updated as often a physically possible. When the Icelandic ash-cloud grounded hundreds of flights last year, NATS and the Met Office updated their website throughout the day, and told people when they could next get information.

Even if the status hasn’t changed people need to know they’re being talked to. So rather than acting like a wet blanket in order to maintain a shred of pride (which ultimately won’t help you to retain your customers) man up and explain what you’re going to do to win your customers trust back. Honesty and conversation is the only way.

*estimated figure from Sony

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