This isn’t the first time that unacceptable employee behavior has caused a loud and widespread response on the social web. You might recall an incident when Domino’s employees filmed their inappropriate behavior in a Domino’s kitchen and published those videos on YouTube.
Unfortunately, this likely won’t be the last time such an incident goes viral. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to prioritize branding from within, meaning businesses must educate employees about the brand promise, gain their buy-in, and allow them to live it.
Internal brand building is a requirement for every business. If your employees don’t understand and believe in your brand promise, why should customers? There is a reason why the Zappos employee social media policy is just five words, “Be real and be honest.” It’s because Zappos employees believe and live the brand’s promise of “service first.”
Today, it’s equally important to train employees to show them their behaviors while representing the brand can spread online and live for a very long time. For a franchise business such as Papa John’s, it’s important to develop a set of core behavioral values that represent the brand promise and set expectations for employees.
Does such a policy and a focus on internal brand building guarantee that every employee, particularly in a franchise organization such as Papa John’s, will act in accordance with that policy at all times? Of course not, but it’s essential that internal branding is taught and that the brand promise is integrated into the company culture at all levels to minimize potential problems with employee behavior.
Papa John’s Response: Not What You Might Think
The day after Minhee tweeted the picture of her receipt, Papa John’s tweeted a response: “We are very upset by recent receipt issue in New York & sincerely apologize to our customer. Franchise employee involved is being terminated.” That’s a good thing. It’s important to admit mistakes and deal with them in a public, transparent manner on the social web. However, a quick scroll through the Papa John’s Twitter timeline reveals another problem.
As angry people tweeted their own comments about Minhee’s experience, Papa John’s began to tweet responses to individuals addressing them directly using the @reply feature. Unfortunately, the same response with a few word changes or reshuffling appears again and again and again (you get the drift).
It’s hard to believe Papa John’s is sincere when the same canned response is used over and over. It’s the Web 2.0 version of a form letter response, and it’s an example of how not to respond to customer service issues and negative comments about your business and brand online.
Lessons to Take Away
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.