Recently, an Apple support company, Systemgraph sued customer, Dimitris Papadimitriadis for sharing his experience online about the bad customer service he received. The twitterverse has gone off the charts as this controversial step has drawn negative publicity towards Systemgraph. But let’s not forget the negative publicity Apple has inadvertently drawn.
Customer Service Should be Seamless. It’s no mystery: many multinational companies outsource their customer service to smaller, local companies. And it is almost never apparent that a third party is dealing with your requests. This seamlessness is key in order to have a fluid customer service experience.
Why should Apple Care?
The fact of the matter is that Apple has high standards, and an equally high reputation. An incident such as this comes off as a matter of insecurity, but more importantly, that of bad PR. This is a pure example of how not to engage in social media channels. In fact it is a disengaged reaction.
In fact, a search for the keyword, “Systemgraph” on Google News reveals that all headlines include the word Apple, but not Systemgraph.
CIO’s Tom Kaneshige says,
“Like anything having to do with Apple, the case has gone viral on Twitter. Most people are siding with Papadimitriadis: Is this how Apple treats its customers? Probably not the kind of image Apple wants to foster around the world. But what can Apple do?”
What Should’ve Happened
If I was Dimitris, I would’ve been happy with an apology, and having my iMac fixed, free of charge. Dimitris agrees:
@TabishB I would have been happy with a better service & customer support according to consumer LAW in greece and common sense #systemgraph
As far as the image of Systemgraph goes, as their PR director, I would’ve ensure that I communicated with Dimitris on the same forum that he aired his concerns. First, I would have acknowledged the problem. I would’ve then gone to let the forum users know that we would look the unfortunate, isolated incident and keep them up-to-date about where the lapse had taken place. Following this, I would’ve taken appropriate measures to bridge this lapse, and inform the community how we did it, and what users can expect in the future.
This would’ve been a golden opportunity for Systemgraph to engage with users and customers on a one-to-one level, utilizing social media. If Dimitris was satisfied, it would’ve been a great turn of events, and crisis averted. Sometimes, the best press is no press. In this case, press would have been kept to a minimum.
People tend to forgive and move on quite easily – if the problem is acknowledged and communications are kept transparent.
The Opportunity – Bridging PR Policies
The opportunity here is to ensure that before situations like these become full blown crises, internal information exchange takes place. In this case, Apple and Systemgraph have had two different PR approaches. It would’ve been a great idea for the PR departments to have collaborated together to anticipate this crisis scenario and make decisions about who should deal with it and how.
This may be something that does not happen often. But it is imperative that PR policies be bridged so that across the board, all reputations are maintained in good standing.
What’s Going on Now?
There is now a hate page for Systemgraph on Amplicate. There are currently no press releases on behalf of Apple addressing this situation.
What are your thoughts?