prcrisisIt happened to me with PR for Anyone… my first PR crisis. The kind that leaves you feeling you’ve been kicked in the stomach and you want to crawl in a hole and cry. But then you realize you have to quickly scoop yourself up and go into crisis management and start fixing what happened.

Somebody with a very large list and a huge following trusted me enough to host a webinar with my content. I set everything up using a new webinar host. I watched all the demos, tested it at least a dozen times and then… Show Time!

Close to 700 people had signed up. We were about 5 minutes from the start time and the emails started flooding in, “the event code isn’t working.” For whatever reason, the event code provided had a bad link and no one could get in. Hundreds of emails were flooding in. So many that I couldn’t respond fast enough.

Are you feeling my horror yet? The blood had drained out of my face and my heart was pounding. What to do?

First crisis somewhat averted. I quickly got a new event code. Jumped in my email list provider and quickly sent everyone the new code. So, we start about 15 minutes late with a fraction of the people, but we were going. I’m calmer, sharing the content when abut 10 minutes in, crisis #2… the hold music from the webinar host comes on and we can’t get it off.

At this point everyone’s dropping off and I know I have 100’s of unhappy people. I’ve got to move fast so I don’t lose all of these potential customers.

What did I do? I killed them with kindness. It’s all I could do really.

I immediately crafted and sent them all an apology email. Of course this wasn’t done intentionally but people’s time is valuable and I appreciate that. They needed to know that. In the email I gave them all a free gift that corresponded to the webinar topic and would be something they could use with the information on the webinar. I rescheduled the webinar for exactly one week later and manually entered everyone into the system so they wouldn’t be inconvenienced any more. I did everything I could do to make-up for the glitch.

I can’t tell you how many positive responses I received from people who appreciated my efforts in trying to fix the situation. And most of those people came back the following week to listen in.

Now you know why I always say,  “Customer service is your best PR”. I can’t control technology. Everything that happened was out of my control but I put fixing the situation in my control and ended up with lots of really happy people.

What would you have done? 

To Your PR Success,

sig1

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