Case Study: How Fed-Ex Responded to a Customer’s Viral Video…With Its Own Video

by Mack Collier

It really is the doomsday scenario for a big brand, in this case, Fed-Ex.  One customer has a horrible experience with a delivery.  A computer monitor is ‘delivered’ when the Fed-Ex driver casually tosses the monitor over the customer’s gate.

Even though the customer was at home.

And the front door was wide open.

And the customer filmed the delivery.

And yes, he posted it on YouTube.

The video has been viewed over 8 million times by now, and was seen on numerous TV stations and shows.  Now if this was your company, how would you respond?  Would you respond?

To its credit, Fed-Ex responded 2 days later with its own video.

Here’s what I love about the video and the post on Fed-Ex’s blog:

1 – Fed-Ex admitted the problem and apologized for it immediately in the video.

2 – Fed-Ex detailed what was done to correct this problem.

3 – Fed-Ex detailed what will happen moving forward.

4 – Fed-Ex responded to the customer video with its own video.  Using the same tool as its customer.

 

Now, the original customer video and Fed-Ex’s response has been dissected on many other blogs in the last 3 months.  But I wanted to focus on the comments this post has generated.  A big reason why many companies do NOT want to use social media to make a response such as what Fed-Ex did here is because they are scared to death that it will simply draw attention to the company and make them a lightning-rod for detractors.

So far, Fed-Ex’s apology post has 181 comments, almost 120 comments more than the 2nd most commented-on post.

Here’s what I thought was interesting about the comments (and I read every freaking one to get these stats):

57% of the comments were positive.

25% of the comments were neutral.

But only 18% of the comments on this post were negative.

Does that surprise you?  It shouldn’t.  As often happens when a company responds appropriately in a crisis situation, Fed-Ex galvanized its employees and brand advocates with this post.  Remember that The Red Cross had a similar episode this time last year with its ‘rogue tweet’ about #gettingslizzard, and the organization’s timely and appropriate response rallied its brand advocates and actually sparked a rise in blood donations.

There is a very salient lesson here for companies about using social media: Participating in a conversation changes that conversation.  By creating a video response to the customer video, apologizing, and detailing exactly how the problem would be fixed, Fed-Ex changed the conversation that was currently happening around its brand.  Prior to this video, the conversation around the brand was decidedly negative and dominated by the customer’s video, because Fed-Ex hadn’t responded.

When they did, the conversation changed.  The company’s response was fast and appropriate, and that not only changed the opinion of the company from some observers, but it also served as motivation for customers and employees to come to defense of the brand.

Always remember this:  Social Media backlashes aren’t created by the initial trigger event (such as the customer’s video above), they are created by HOW the company responds.

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