Ohio water park angers breastfeeding moms, lets them take over its Facebook page
February 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Over the weekend, a Columbus, Ohio news station ran a story of a woman told to stop breastfeeding her child while at a local indoor water park. The story made it over to Facebook and soon the very vocal breastfeeding community went in droves to the Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort page to tell them their displeasure with the business’ decision.
First, the water park ignored the news’ request for comment, then it ignored its Facebook page for 49 hours letting hundreds of negative comments and exclamations of lost business pour in with zero response.
It wasn’t until 10 a.m. Monday morning that a response came from Fort Rapids.
This whole incident actually happened weeks ago and could have been completely prevented. When mother Maggie Baywin proclaimed she would never visit Fort Rapids again after told to stop feeding her child at the water park, representatives used Facebook to tried to solve the problem.
It’s these three responses over the course of four hours that stirred mothers in Ohio, and across the United States, into a frenzy.
With sensitive and delicate situations such as this, the more appropriate way to resolve it would have been to take it offline and address it personally with the mother. The result of this crisis could very well had a much different outcome if Fort Rapids had a crisis communications plan in place to know exactly how to handle customers who leave with a negative experience.
Even if a news story still aired and the firestorm still came, Fort Rapids would have been better prepared to handle it. So what I’m saying is, have a plan to deal with potential crises.
Letting your detractors control the message without setting the record straight can destroy your brand and is not the way to stay in the good graces of your customers.
And remember, the Internet is forever. So read and re-read everything before you hit ‘publish’. The last thing you want is to tell the people who are hounding you that you ‘do not have a ‘No Tolerance’ policy’ (whatever that means) or spell the name wrong of the person you’re trying to apologize to.