As consumers become more mature and self-aware, more and more companies in the Czech Republic are facing the threat of crisis communications. Today, there are two approaches that don’t work anymore: avoidance by doing nothing and lying.
Some of you may have followed the recent KFC scandal around “free food delivery.” For those who didn’t, just a short reminder: in early June 2016 KFC Czech Republic announced the launch of a new service: free food deliveries. In reality the company pumped up the price of delivered food as opposed to the food in store. When customers started warning the company on social media about its hidden price policy, KFC initially denied it. Later, under public pressure, the company admitted its blunder, apologized, offered offended customers meal vouchers for CZK 250 and started food deliveries with food and transport charged separately. Summed up, this little game cost KFC not only money: it cost its image, reputation and trustworthiness. In today’s climate of hyper-competition, not many companies can afford to lose their customers’ trust.
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A mentor once told me: “Czech customers ask for relations, but they don’t decide based on relations.” Even though this statement might be true, healthy, trust-driven relations with your customers have a much higher chance to carry you into your future. As the number of companies facing crisis communication grows, we can only hope this will ultimately lead to a positive outcome: a mature market driven by partnership, conversation and more truthful strategic communications.
Author: Cristina Muntean, Strategic Communications Advisor and Trainer. Chairwoman of the AmCham Marketing & Communications Committee. Founder Media Education CEE, www.mediaed.cz
Abstract: As the latest communications crisis in KFC Czech Republic showed, Czech customers are more and more self-aware. Companies can no longer afford to lie or do nothing when their clients become unhappy. This trend marks a healthy return to common sense: if you want to prosper, make sure you invest into long-term trust-driven relations with your customers backed by genuine, truthful strategic communications.