Brand and Negativity #CSWEEK2017

The Customer Experience Week for CarreFour Kenya was …


Stuff Happen to Brands All the Time

There are so many a times in a business that events happen and they change the image of your brand. The events can be planned or things beyond our control. However, as goes with any business, once these events/changes occur, a business leader’s main focus should always turn to how they can build and improve on the changes brought about by these events.

The CarreFour Debacle 

Recently, Carrefour, a leading French retailer supermarket faced some negative publicity after a customer issued a complaint. The basis of the complaint was that she (the customer) faced some uncalled-for racist remarks such as ‘black people are lazy’ and actions at the hand of another customer while conducting her shopping at the Karen, Nairobi Branch. Her rage was heightened when the employees of the store including the teller serving her and the managers of the store followed the three wise monkeys’ mantra ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ loosely. The then fuming customer took to social media to air out her complaints and she did not get the adequate response she needed from their social media personnel. The story has now spread like wildfire and the store has been receiving backlash from both current and potential customers all over social media.

Then What …

The negative publicity and backlash could have easily been avoided had the employees followed some sort of protocol that enabled them to ease the customer’s rage as well as deal with the matter accordingly. However, that is now spilt milk and with their new project of opening a branch at the Thika Road Mall (TRM) underway, their main focus should be on customer retention and acquisition. They need to think of how they gain some of their lost customers back as well as appeal to new potential customers, especially at their TRM branch.

From a marketing perspective, they first need to ensure that their social media platforms are tailored to the audience they are serving  i.e. Kenyan for Kenyans. Monitor your communications channels. This will ensure that they engage accordingly with their customers cause let’s face it, most people in this day and age we live in believe social media to be the undisputed truth when it comes to any sort of news. As a business, you should endeavour to be at the forefront of your brand because whatever is said about your brand on any platform can either make or break it.

Secondly, the branch at TRM will be within close proximities to local well established whole food vendors, vendors that have already built their customer base. They, therefore, need to push their ‘we support Kenyan grown foods’ campaign. This will show some sort of unity and support to their Kenyan target market and who knows they may be able to convert some vendors to act as suppliers or acquire some new customers.

Thirdly, a public apology and a statement stating that the behaviour or the ‘racist’ customer is in no way a reflection of their culture, if not yet released should be the ideal way to gain some of their previously loyal customers back. Identify and sympathise with the customers, because the two customers were not the only ones present during the whole saga and so the other customers’ perceptions about the store and brand could have also been altered.

What Are Brands To Do in the Event of Negative feedback in Kenya?
Blog post coming soon

All in all, the brand and others in general need to remember that adaptability while entering a new market as well as integrating themselves into the markets’ culture, allows one to gain a faster and further insight into that market which in turn hastens the customer acquisition process.

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