BlackBerry service’s slow response earns low marks

Crisis communications experts say Research in Motion should have been empathizing with its customers during the BlackBerry outage while it gave updates.

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In a post tagged 6:20 a.m. Eastern time Thursday, fewer than three hours before Research in Motion reported its BlackBerry services were “operating well globally,” co-CEO and founder Mike Lazaridis issued a video apology for an outage that had been affecting customers since Monday.

“Let me assure you that we’re working around the clock to fix this,” he said. “You expect better from us, and I expect better from us.”

That apology was “spot-on,” Jonathan Hemus of Insignia Communications wrote in a blog post. Unfortunately, it came “at least 48 hours too late.”

“They have given themselves a significantly bigger challenge than if they had chosen to communicate two days ago,” Hemus says. “It is not impossible for them to fully recover, but they are starting much further back. Negative perceptions have formed about the organization.”

Research in Motion (RIM) has been posting to a service update page, but crisis communicators say the company didn’t say enough or show enough sympathy toward customers.

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