This case study all started when Chris Brennan, a biking enthusiast, posted on a forum a tiny flaw the Kryptonite bike lock had. On this forum, he showed that a Bic pen could easily unlock this expensive bike lock. This demonstration quickly hopped from one social media platform to the next. Which caused potential consumers to be very upset, and public relations with a hot mess to deal with. The company did respond within the 5-business day rule. They apologized for what had happened and offered existing customers the chance to exchange their bike lock for a new one. However, this didn’t matter to some and their product / response error landed in a book called, “Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.” Once word of this book reached the head of public relations, Donna Tocci, she reached out to the authors, Robert Scobie, and Shei Isreal, to set the record straight. They then asked her if Kryptonite’s PR team handled the situation to the best of their capabilities, she said, “We could have responded to the concerns earlier, other than that, there wasn’t much more we could have done.” Even though the company did everything right. The negativity of the events still follows them to this day.
I feel like the reason why this story blew up was because it was so easy to break into an expensive lock. It didn’t help that the demonstration of breaking into it went from one social media platform to the next. Also, it probably didn’t help that the company didn’t address it right away. Even though they claim that they responded in a reasonable amount of time. This didn’t settle well with many of the consumers.
As for how Donna Tocci explained her PR team to the authors. My feelings on her response are mixed. On one hand, I feel like her team should’ve been monitoring all social media platforms that mention their company. That way they can respond accordingly and diffuse the problem immediately. On the other hand, they did respond to the customers and promise those who did have the bike lock an updated model. In the end, I would take her side on this matter because they did respond as soon as they could and tried to fix the problem.
What Kryptonite should do now to prevent this from happening again is to create a social media marketing team. By creating this team, they could set up several social media pages. That way, customers can leave their concerns on a legitimate media page and not a forum that the company won’t be aware of. This will help them respond to the customers concerns immediately. Which will hopefully restore hope to the company for both new and current customers.
If other companies have heard of this case. They should definitely learn from Kryptonite and their mistakes. Even though they did everything that they could at the time. It still backfired on them hardcore. When it comes to terms of listening to the consumer and being responsive. Every company must be very active at this. If they aren’t attentive to the customer they will get eaten alive! All those consumers will turn on the company and see them as being unprofessional. Another thing that companies should keep in mind is to have their media page user-friendly. By having it user-friendly, they should keep it simplistic and clean. If companies make their page complex the consumer will become so frustrated that they’ll give up trying to use. This will cause them to get turned off by the company and make them want to avoid the company completely. Lastly, what companies should keep in mind is, what is their competitor using? Before they decide which social media platform they should go with. They should research their competitor to see which sites they are using and how they are using it. This would hopefully put said company one step ahead of the competing company.