The Rogers network outage in July 2022 disrupted nearly every aspect of daily life, leaving debit payments, 911 services and government operations unavailable to Rogers customers for days.
The public backlash to how the company mismanaged the outage was swift and fierce.
In this video blog, Solv crisis management trainer Nicole Harris shares her thoughts on the lessons leaders can learn from the Canadian telecom giant’s fumbled corporate communications.
Social media hasn’t changed the rules of crisis management, but it has turbocharged it. Hi, I’m Nicole Harris, founder and lead trainer at Solv Communications.
And here we are with the top four takeaways from the Rogers outage.
Number one, never turtle on the media. For most of Friday’s outage, the company said nothing. They completely went dark. This left Canadians to speculate the worst and soon talk of possible hacks emerging on social media and news headlines. This caused fear over whether people’s data was safe and how big the problem was. In any crisis, PR or social media, responding quickly is the key to busting myths and taking control of the narrative.
Number two, reach your audience with the right platform. Instead of issuing a media statement or holding a press conference, Rogers sent out tweets. Problem was, they could only be seen by non-Rogers customers. This led to a flood of online jokes that Canada’s biggest telecom company must have been using a competitor service to get their message out.
Number three, share factual and consistent updates. Stick to the facts only. What you know and what is confirmed. In the Rogers instance, they publicly said that service had been restored for virtually everybody. But many people pointed out the falsehood of that statement online. So choose your words carefully and ensure you are truthful in the moment.
And number four, people remember how you make them feel. Empathy should be the cornerstone of how you deal with those impacted by any crisis. In the Rogers response, they demonstrated little empathy for parents who are unable to call ambulances for their children or senior members of their families. The bottom line is, people will always remember how you made them feel. So be truthful, be authentic and express empathy. Anything else is just empty talk and will send customers straight to your competitor.
Thanks for watching.