No doubt you will be aware of the technical problems that Blackberry has had this week – millions of Blackberry users across the globe have been without the now famous… or infamous (if you believe that it was the cause of the recent rioting in the UK’s cities) BBM (Blackberry Messaging), email and internet since lunchtime on Monday.

Nearly 4 days on, the Blackberry service is said to be improving…4 days and people are still struggling with their services, surely unheard of for a Comms company! But what has Blackberry and RIM (Research In Motion – the company behind Blackberry) done in the meantime for its customers?

Well, it seems like communication and customer service haven’t been the top priorities… with 1 relatively uninformative tweet hours later on Monday evening from Twitter account @Blackberryhelp saying “Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues. We’re investigating, and apologise for any inconvenience”, and just minimal updates further to this.

What should Blackberry and RIM have done in this situation? Working in PR, we know that mistakes happen, and technology no matter how advanced and popular can fail sometimes. It’s part of life and the nature of business. What sets you apart, however, is how you react to any problems – it’s your crisis management skills and subsequent communication with your customers that really matter.

In crisis management a company has to be available, communicate often and transparently, to say what the crisis is and how it will prevent it reoccurring. RIM appears to have been in a panicked denial, and failed in all areas. Communication to customers was not good and contained industry jargon which teenage users would not have understood, and it did not put up a press spokesperson for comment at all. The problem happened which is bad enough, but sometimes how you deal with that problem and make things better is what really can save your company’s image and put right the damage done to your brand.

If you’re a struggling Blackberry customer, check the Blackberry service update page for any service changes, and if you’re interested in hearing more about Crisis Management, contact us via info@brookscomm.com or +44 (0)1483 537890.

Keep an eye on @PRexpertsUK and @UKmarketingUK for PR tips and our take on business news!

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