Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Value of an Apology

Well-timed thoughtful apologies to consumers when a company recognizes it has done something wrong are not a dime a dozen. If the apology is perfunctory, an afterthought months or weeks after the adverse event occurs and without a timeline for change, it may be wasted.

But here is one from the Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for Pacific Gas & Electric, Helen Burt, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal on September 7th. She admitted that the utility “made mistakes” in how it … handled its massive deployment of 9.3 million gas meters. “We approached it as a roll out of infrastructure.”

She said the utility failed to understand the depth of skepticism about the need for new technology, privacy concerns with transmitting data wirelessly, as well as fear, in some quarters, about possible health effects from wireless radio transmissions.

While a recent California Public Utilities Commission Report showed that meters are actually performing as they should, it is obvious that better communications with utility customers can only help the key relationship upon which utilities depend and the reputation of the business in general.

Technorati Tags: consumer, Pacific Gas & Electric, California Public Utilities,The Wall Street Journal, communications, public relations, Makovsky


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