Crisis Communications – Responding vs Reacting

Earlier this week I heard about Whole Foods being under fire for selling whole pre-peeled oranges in plastic containers. Very quickly, as a result of social media, Whole Foods (and people who would purchase the product) were being attacked for being too lazy to peel an orange and also the waste of the plastic container around the orange.

The good news in this “crisis communications” situation is that Whole Foods responded very quickly. They responded to an initial Tweet that was going viral and they apologized. Not only did they respond but they did so very quickly. They decided immediately to pull the pre-peeled oranges from the shelve

But, perhaps they reacted too quickly? Because now there is backlash against Whole Foods for pulling the pre-peeled oranges.

I believe what Whole Foods needs to recognize is that there is a big difference between responding to a situation and reacting to a situation. They could have still responded immediately to the Tweet and let their followers know that they were looking into the situation. Next they could have devised a plan, working with their public relations team of course, on what would be the best plan overall to react would be and then moved forward with that plan.

An organization is never going to make 100% of their customers happy, but perhaps listening to feedback from all consumers before reacting and making a rash decision could have had a more positive outcome.

(Side note: I don’t know about you, but I potentially like the idea of a pre-peeled orange. Sometimes the work it takes to peel an orange will make me just grab an apple.)

What do you think Whole Foods should have done differently?

Written by
at Mar 10, 2016

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