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0 Comments RIM’s Reputation – Piling On

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 27 Oct 2011 in Canada,Current Events

rim reputation?Maybe it’s my role at Merix which automatically makes me sympathize when bad things happen to other companies.   It’s partly glad it’s you and not me, but the other part is I get it…stuff happens.  Blackberry/RIM has paid dearly, reputation and compensation.  They could have managed the crisis, the outage, better but who isn’t a lot smarter after the fact?   This organization will learn from its mistakes, however they first have to deal with all the pot shots everyone is taking at them.

 The latest salvo comes from Montreal, blackberry reputationConsumer Law Group Inc., a Montreal based law firm.  They filed a class action suit against RIM.  The claim is that RIM failed to reimburse Blackberry users  because of the outage.  In principal I get it.  You pay monthly data fees and your service was out.  But RIM offered all Blackberry users the opportunity to download $100 worth of free app’s, and Blackberry users have until December 31st to do so.  From where I sit I think it demonstrates that RIM is trying to do right by their customers.  Some may chalk this up to a PR stunt but the giveaway has real dollar value.  As for the class action suit it still needs to be ratified by a judge as a class action before it can go forward.  Here’s to the wisdom of the courts.

 RIM has been criticized for not managing the crisis more effectively.  RIM’s CO-Chief Executives, Mike Lazardis and Jim Balsille,  didn’t make any public comments about the outage until day four of the crisis.  (By the way, I use the term crisis in jest.  A disruption of Blackberry service isn’t matter of life and death.)  There’s a leadership lesson  to be learned  here.  Far be it for me to offer council to the Co-Chief Executives at RIM, but when the feces hits the fan, you better get out in front of it.  Posting an apology on YouTube, four days into the problem, doesn’t buy goodwill.   It doesn’t matter how big the company is the leader needs to be visible when the company is under attack.  One of the best examples of business leadership during a crisis occurred in 1982, “ The Tylenol Scare”.  Seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Extra Strength Tylenol which had been deliberately contaminated with cyanide.  The CEO, and the makers of tylenol reputation managementTylenol, immediately recalled 31 million bottles of Tylenol from retailers.  This was one of the first major recalls in American history.   They immediately changed their bottles to be tamper proof, and these new tamper proof bottles were on retailers’ shelves within 10 weeks of the crisis.  This is leadership, and it’s recognized by the consumer.  Tylenol regained 100% of the market share it had before the crisis.

 The amazing thing about the makers of Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson,  was the speed in which they made the decision to recall their product.  It would have been easy to just recall the product in the state of Illinois, but Johnson & Johnson decided not to take any chances.  They refused to put profit in front of the welfare of their customers.  As for RIM, there is a silver lining.  It’s being reported that in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, accidents fell by 20 to 40 percent during the outage.  Closer to home the OPP is reporting that were fewer accidents in Ontario during the outage.  Coincidence?  I think not.

 Until next time


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