After briefly debating whether to sit in the drive thru in protest and allow the manager to fulfill his threat to call the cops, I decided to blog about it instead. Thanks to the power of the internet, customers no longer have to walk away grumbling about poor businesses practices or in my case, outright discrimination. Companies today are seeing the power of Web 2.0 and the lasting effects that search engines can have on their reputations.
Liz Fuller at Business and Blogging tackled the Steak 'n Shake incident and examined how Steak 'n Shake is handling this public relations crisis that resulted. As she explained how the incident unfolded, she noted an interesting fact that should have Steak 'n Shake executives concerned:
The next day, she itemized over 80 blogs that had picked up her story. The story was also picked up that night by ABC News and Fox News. Today, approximately three weeks after it happened there are almost 1000 hits on Google when typing in the search words, “Steak and Shake” and “Deaf Mom”.
More than that, this story appears in positions #3 through #9 on the front page of Google when searching on the terms “Steak and Shake”. Currently, the Steak and Shake site itself holds positions #1 and #2, but if this continues - how long will that last?
Liz notes that companies today need to implement a crisis management policy to handle any negative publicity that can occur. News via the internet travels faster than the speed of light nowadays. As Liz states:
This incident underscores what we have been saying - the traditional rules of “managing the message” don’t apply any more. Consumers have much more opportunity to take the message into their own hands with minimal cost and maximum effect.
To read the full post on Business and Blogging: Crisis Case Study: Steak 'n Shake Denies Service to Deaf Mom
and a follow up interview:
Business and Blogging: Interview with Karen Putz
Several people have asked me for an update on the Steak 'n Shake situation. Howard Rosenblum, a deaf attorney from Equip for Equality, is working with me on this. Steak 'n Shake has hired an attorney with a disability rights background to assist them. We are currently waiting to hear from them.