What KFC Can Teach You about Viral Negative Reviews

Published November 6th, 2017 by Servistree

In the world of social media customer reviews often come fast and furious. But while reviews which are glowing, uplifting, and positive rarely go viral, those which are negative, denigrating, and nasty often do. These viral reviews are often found to contain a shred of truth, but are not usually 100% on the money as it relates to the facts of the situation. This imbalance has left many business owners wondering what they can do to protect themselves from the occasional malicious review which gains traction with the public. In order to gain some perspective on the subject, let’s take a look at recent situation involving KFC.

KFC – The Victim of a Hoax?

Recently a woman took to social media to complain that her granddaughter had been asked to leave a KFC restaurant location due to the young girl’s facial bandages, which were the result of treatment after a dog attack. The woman said that the employee reported that customers had complained that the girl’s bandages were frightening or gruesome looking. And predictably, the social media world, and even the traditional media, took the woman’s account at face value and lambasted KFC for having been so insensitive. The company even issued a public apology and pledged $30,000 towards the girl’s recovery. But, after conducting a thorough review of the case, KFC concluded that the girl and her grandmother had not visited a KFC store on the day in question, and that the grandmother has been mistaken at best, or at worst it was all a hoax.

Corporate Compassion at Work

Despite the fact that KFC had cleared itself of any wrong doing the company continued to pledge its support for the young girl and the $30,000 toward her recovery. This is an example of a company which had been the victim of numerous rumors and social attacks over the years using another such an attack to essentially go on the offensive. By sticking to the facts and continuing to pledge its support for the young girl, was a victim of dog attack and seemingly of the hoax as well, KFC leveraged negative publicity and converted it into a heartwarming tale of corporate compassion.

Don’t Spin, Pivot

So often companies attempt to take negative stories about their products or brands and spin the stories in the company’s favor. However, as was seen in the case of KFC, spinning negative stories is not always the best way to go. Another option is to evaluate the news, assess its truth or falsity, and pivot company’s position in order to take the conversation in a different direction. KFC never attempted to explain why its employees acted in such a horrendous manner. Instead, the company took responsibility for its role in the events, even before it knew all of the details. Once the details became clear, the company respectfully revealed the facts to the public while continuing to treat the situation in a compassionate manner.

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