From this, JamiQ concludes that it takes slightly over a month from the beginning of a crisis for the public to become generally disdainful about a given situation. And it takes them about three months to forget an issue.
JamiQ notes that SMRT eventually managed to bring down the negative public sentiments only after two months.
They basically made two mistakes in handling the situation. Not only did SMRT not engage the public well through social media, they also did not succeed in identifying the key factors that contributed to the public anger. After all, issues of minor breakdowns and punctuality were not entirely new, as pointed out by some netizens. But SMRT did not utilise this background info to its advantage.
"Traditionally, companies have been able to weather PR storms by staying silent; this situation has clearly demonstrated that strategy is no longer infallible," concludes JamiQ.
That is a clear lesson here for CEOs of companies who may find themselves in similar situations. When a crisis erupts, it is better to face the public. Haven't they said a crisis makes a leader?
Zafar Anjum is the online editor of MIS Asia, CIO Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia.
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