For this week’s assignment of social media crisis I picked the Tesco horse meat crisis. The crisis itself was largely discussed through mainstream media; however a mistake made from the company on social media made the situation much worse than it already was.
In January 2013 it emerged the Tesco, a UK grocery store, were selling beef burgers contaminated with horse meat. More than 10 million burgers were removed from the shelves. There was customer outreach throughout the UK and the retailer had shares drop 1.7 %. Now this is a problem in itself. This problem however was made substantially worse by a tweet.
As soon as this tweet was release hundreds of followers responded with angry tweets that the company was making light of the situation. ”The team was quick to apologies, copying and pasting the same apology to every customer who complained. ‘I’m terribly sorry,’ it tweeted. ‘That tweet was scheduled before we knew of the current situation. We’d never intend to make light of it.’ However, claiming the tweet had been scheduled before the scandal broke only stoked customers’ fury further” (Dailymail, 2013).
How to fix the problem
- Tweets- Go back through all scheduled tweets and edit any before they are sent. I can see how a mistake like this would happen. Scheduled tweets allow for a company to still interact with consumers, without having to be live tweeting. They are helpful tools when using twitter. In light of the scandal I could see how a harmless tweet like that could be forgotten about. Unfortunately for them the wording with the timing was a bad combination. They did the right thing by apologizing; however it appears they use the whole scheduled tweet thing as an excuse. Customers don’t want excuses, especially during this time period, so they should have taken the emphasis off scheduled tweet. Regardless of what type of tweet it was, it was bad. This is when Tesco should be live tweeting, responding to as many people they can apologizing or answering questions. Show customers they are truly sorry and here to help them with whatever questions they may have.
- Video- The CEO should release a video in which they apologize to customers and address the situation, informing customers that all the contaminated meat has been removed from shelves and that they are working with manufacturers to investigate how something like this could have happened. This video should be posted on their website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Having the face of the company sincerely reaching out to customers to apologize being honest about this situation will help in rebuilding some of the lost trust.
- Coupon- I would create a coupon for a percentage or dollar amount off costumers bills the next time they shopped at Tesco. In order to obtain this coupon they would have to visit their Facebook page, follow them on Tweeter when a link to the coupon gets tweeted, watch the video posted on YouTube at the end will have a link to a site where the coupon is posted. Not only will this require for people to visit the social media sites allowing for that data to be tracked but it also will help promote their messaging about the scandal and how it is being fixed. This could also help to increase social media numbers which we all know can be a huge benefit for a company.
Overall, social media made a bad situation worse. But learning from the w s made social media could help in solving the problem. Used properly it could help to restore Tesco’s reputation which coming off a successful Christmas season the month before was doing quite well. Continue to be open and honest and constantly updating customers on how the problem is being fixed and actions being taken to ensure this never happens again.