Wednesday 12 October 2011

Blackberry's reputation nightmare

Millions of Blackberry users are still experiencing problems with internet access across India, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This is an unprecedented blackout and a real reputational challenge to RIM, the makers of Blackberry, and to the Blackberry brand itself.

While Apple has won plaudits and fans for their quirky designs and ways they have revolutionised the way we communicate, Blackberry also has a loyal fan base who see the handsets as brilliantly functional and super reliable. This blackout cuts right to the core of Blackberry's point of difference.

It is worrying that reports suggest that Blackberry isn't communicating effectively with its customers and is instead updating them via third-party service providers. This may not be true but is the impression being given. Blackberry needs to find ways to communicate with its customers through as many channels as possible. Yes send out Tweets, but brief key opinion formers such as tech journalists or take out paid advertising if necessary - in a crisis situation there can never be too many updates provided. Above all provide a spokesperson who becomes the go-to person for all news outlets. Blackberry should be showing a human face to the world at this important time but instead look as if they are hiding.

In summary be utterly transparent and demonstrate action: Blackberry needs to tell its customers what it is doing to solve the problem, apologise, solve the issue, apologise once again, find a way to compensate its customers for the inconvenience and then apologise once more.

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