What to do in a crisis?
This morning Matt Brian from The Next Web broke the news that it seems that O2 has been sending customer phone number to every website they had visited, using the O2 network, i.e. while not on WiFi. Obviously this isn’t the smoothest start to a Wednesday O2 could have hoped for, but the news is out and industry influencers are taking the bit between their teeth.
The question isn’t necessarily if O2 is going to fix this? It will no doubt resolve the issue in the next 12-24hrs, but it’s more about how it communicates the steps it’s taking to the people like Matt who broke the news, or influencers like Ewan MacLeod (Editor and Founder of Mobile Industry Review) who has been tweeting about it since the story broke.
If it were me, i’d make sure that i bring these guys in to everything being done to fix this problem, have an open conversation with them about how this happened in the first place and the company’s next steps. People like Matt and Ewan have a huge audience, specifically in the mobile industry and by talking with them, it can help spread the word of action far quicker. They both write for widely read news sites, but perhaps just as important is the fact that they’re both extremely active across a number of social media channels, be it to cross-publish stories, or to simply deliver thought.
Just my thoughts, but needless to say i’ll be keeping an eye on this.
As what usually happens with these things, first the news is broken by a digital news site (in this case The Next Web), the community and industry influencers then test and verify what’s happening, then the national journalists start investigating (around 3hrs since it broke). At this point, it’s just a matter of when a national will run with the story. Around the same time, broadcast journalists put their reports together and then the issue comes to the consumer from a number of different channels and O2 will have a whole lot more explaining to do…
As far as i’ve seen there has been little or no update from O2 aside from the slightly varied message of “we’re looking in to it” tweeted around three times a minute. If it had been able to bring those who initially broke the story in to what it’s been doing to fix the situation, it would have several platforms to communicate to the industry as a whole – which would have undoubtedly filtered through in to any stories national newspaper journalists would be writing.
O2 has now published a Q&A blog post to help answer some of the questions customers might have about what’s been written.