This one’s a quick lesson for brands in how having a presence on Twitter – and actively monitoring the account – can pay off in big ways. It began on Friday night when a customer visited a Papa John’s restaurant in New York City and placed an order. The cashier made a derogatory and racially offensive notation on her order, which printed out on the receipt that the customer received (it boggles the mind as to why the cashier would do such a thing). In the good old, pre-Web 2.0 days, the issue may have ended there, perhaps with the customer complaining to the store manager, but unfortunately for Papa John’s, the customer is on Twitter.
One tweet of her receipt sparked outrage amongst the customer’s 1,300+ followers and quickly spread to other mediums, including Facebook, where I found out about it:
Twenty-four hours later, Papa Johns tweeted the customer in response:
Given that it was a weekend, the 24-hour response time was pretty good. In fact, I’m somewhat impressed that Papa John’s responded via Twitter at all. Social media users around the web were predicting that the Papa John’s PR team, clueless as to the storm brewing online, would walk into a crapstorm of a crisis on Monday morning. Having an active presence on social media allowed the company to nip the situation in the bud and prevent the issue from ballooning into a full-blown disaster.
Whether @MintyMin (a Communications Manager! talk about irony!) feels that receiving an apology and a promise that the offending employee would be terminated is enough of an adequate response, however, is another issue entirely.