Capital shoppers was in involved in an alleged rotten margarine sale scandal. A Uganda Baker Asha Batenga was shocked when she found out that the margarine she bought from the supermarket was rotten.
The incident happened on May 25, 2015 at Capital Shoppers Ntinda branch. According to her media interviews, she was ignored after seeking help from management. Management allegedly said that it was the problem of supplier not them.
As usual the Ugandan weak civil society did not respond. There was no statement from consumer associations and other government regulatory authorities. Regulatory authorities like KCCA and UNBS did not pronounce themselves on the matter.
The incident attracted media attention and went viral online. Asha allegedly found rotten margarine when she visited the supermarket the second time. Asha has evidence of a receipt and rotten margarine.
Asha alleged cyber bullying after posting about her experience on social media. It is a family brand business that must always protect its reputation. The supermarket must do some house cleaning to reclaim its image. The biggest threat to the business would be a possible boycott by some people.
The most important step would be to reach out to the unhappy customer. The supermarket can give her a free shopping voucher .This can be handed to hand in front of the media houses.
The incident based on available information rotates around customer care issues. The supermarket must revise its customer policy and guidelines moving forward. This can include customer care training for all its staff and empowering them to act outside the policies if its an emergency. The supermarket must also invest in perception research and periodic customer service auditing.
There is need to issue a public statement on the incident stating the supermarket’s t side of the story. This is crucial in countering the disinformation that has been going around. The statement must also be reassuring to the public by explaining the quality control policies clearly. The Supermarket needs to set the record straight since Asha has already put her evidence on the table. The supermarket has not yet agreed or reputed her claims.
The supermarket can do Customer appreciation activations at all its branches. This is also an opportunity to give out free goodies branded with the supermarket logos. The items can be tyre covers and stickers communicating the renewed service promise.
Taking full responsibility internally and externally would be great. The supermarket could publicly announce the suspension of the supervisor who was on duty that day. The supermarket can institute investigations into the matter as a way to buy time as crisis cools.
They should roll out a communication plan. It is evident that the supermarket does not have an online presence. Opening social media accounts and a website will be vital in future communication needs. They should invest in media monitoring so they quickly know what is said about them in the media.
Crisis and reputation management is not entirely an overnight project. It takes time. It is best to do one activity at a time. Spacing activities helps you gauge the reaction of the public and media. The feedback will help you finalise on the PR tactics plan.