Provided for your review is the response from Horizon Realty regarding their pending lawsuit and comments made by management to the Sun-Times. Here is the link to the blog post I made yesterday on this topic.
In my humble opinion, I’m seeing Horizon trying to put lipstick on this pig (which means trying to make an ugly situation look good without addressing the underlying cause).
Mandatory in a social media crisis containment scenario is they they mea culpa and admit an error. In the released statement, they show no remorse or contrition for their behavior or a willingness to try and make nice with Ms. Bonnen.
They suggest in their statement that Jeffery Michael’s comments were ‘taken out of context’ by the Sun-Times. Not a bad tactic, I’d try to get a podcast / recording out containing the conversation with the reporter if it existed.
In their statement, they try to characterize their customer as the bad egg. This again is their client, their consumer, and they shift blame to them for all this. Did she really have a lawsuit already filed against Horizon? Hmm… was this response then Horizon’s attempt to intimidate her into dropping the previous action? Could be perceived that way I suppose. Not enough details yet to make a call. In any case, I am not sure I’d yet be willing to consider Horizon as my property management company if all they do is blame others – we all make mistakes.
What Horizon may not be getting a grip on is that regardless of the portion of fault that resides with the client, their consumer, it is they that will end up being seen as the Snidley Whiplash of this episode.
This reaction may not serve to remedy the loss of social capital they have already suffered, which will most likely lead to a loss of financial capital, but taking your medicine was never an easy thing to do and if you’ve always counted on traditional media tactics, understanding how best to employ the model of social media sometimes gets lost in the translation.
Horizons Press Release from their website (looks like it might be their first ever)
What Can They Do Now? Are there other tactics they might employ to get this issue out of the news or at least improve the companies image in the press as a ‘sue first’ company?
I think so, but they require honesty, transparency and a commitment to do what’s right – even if it hurts a bit. Can Horizon still recover from this glaring faux pas of a very public customer relations situation gone bad? If they keep thinking of social media as just another outlet for the same old message, maybe not.