The Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management 
 Editor: Erik Bernstein 
 Publisher: Jonathan Bernstein

"For Those Who Are Crisis Managers,
Whether They Want to be or Not"

2014 Jonathan Bernstein

Comcast and the Worst Customer Service Call Ever

Volume XV, Number 13

July 17, 2014    

Just a Thought  

"Repetition makes reputation and reputation 
makes customers."
- Elizabeth Arden  
From the Editor

Repetition of quality product, service, and behavior will build a positive reputation, drive new business, and retain existing customers. Repetition of the opposite will do the reverse. It's a clear concept, so how can a company like Comcast, which brought in nearly $65 billion last year, still not get it?


The now-viral Comcast customer service call, in which a phone rep refuses to disconnect a couple's service, begging, berating, and flat-out arguing - even after being told they had already signed a contract with another provider - would be damaging on its own, but no more than a curiosity IF Comcast had otherwise stellar service. Problem is, one look at the comments section on the caller's SoundCloud post, or on any one of the hundreds of stories covering this debacle around the 'net, will tell you that's not true. 


Even if you've just returned from a crater on the moon, a quick Google shows that Comcast has an absolutely horrific reputation when it comes to service of any kind. While it's a big dog in the market right now, and rolling in piles of cash, even an outsider can see there are creeping crises that are just waiting to turn into financial devastation.


Will this be the wake up call Comcast needs to wise up to the dangers its painfully bad front-line service is creating? We'll be watching.



- Erik

Interested in repurposing BCM articles 
or blog posts?


Would you like to share a post with your audience, reprint one of BCM's how-to's for office use, or take students through a set of case studies?  


We're happy to give permission for material to be repurposed in just about any way you'd like. Simply submit a request to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.


Our blogs on the Bernstein Crisis Management page and at the Free Management Library are full of posts covering topics from reputation management, to social media, to crisis management case studies and more. 
In this section we take look at some of the most popular posts from the past weeks: 

A case study of crisis management done right, Walmart Takes Control in Tracy Morgan Crash Crisis looks at how compassionate messaging kept the retail giant from taking major reputation damage after a tragic crash.

OOPS! White House Accidentally IDs CIA Spy Chief is a little funny, and a lot scary. Even after a reporter double-checked, officials still managed to allow the name of a top CIA operative to go out on a massive distribution list.

The power of social media means people can cause the changes they want to see. Pressure Forces Crisis Management from Food Industry is yet another example of that fact, as we see the huge changes to longstanding policy food makers and vendors around the world are making thanks to popular demand.

Another case study, Analyzing P.F. Chang's Crisis Management for Data Breach, reviews the restaraunt's response to the news, as well as the possibility of more trouble up ahead.

Most people know that downloading suspicious apps can leave your phone filled with malware, but Crisis Management Risk - Smartphone Shipped with Spyware reveals a new threat - phones that come straight from the store already under the control of hackers who can access your camera, messages, and more.

Stats show 62% of Americans Asking for Digital Crisis through lack of data protection and simple carelessness. Are you one of them?

Before you hop on Yelp to smack talk your competition, ask yourself, Is Bad-Mouthing Competitors Smart Issue Management?

Regardless of how large your organization grows, it's important to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of what's off-limits. For the perfect example of why it's important, look no further than Overseas Ad Leaves Ogilvy USA Needing Crisis Management.

Bots, Social Media, and What it Means to Crisis Management delves into an issue that's just now coming on the radar for most - the use of bots to influence public opinion via social media.

In Crisis Management Quotables...on Meeting Expectations, we look at a quote from Bryant McGill, Goodwill Ambassador for World Peace, that explains why it's so important to do what stakeholders expect of you. 
Apropos of Nothing

I enjoyed my recent participation in the University of Oregon's "Guest Executive" program so much that I would love to do more of the same at other schools that aren't TOO far a trip from my Los Angeles-area base. Over a two-day period, UO had me guest lecture/teach at four PR-related classes and make an "open to the public" speech. They covered all travel costs and a modest honorarium.  
If you can do the same, please contact me, jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Bernsteins Available to Deliver Free Guest Lectures, Q&A Sessions


Jonathan alone, or the team of Jonathan and Erik Bernstein, are available at no charge to deliver guest lectures and host Q&A sessions with college classes via Skype or Google Hangout. Our latest presentation was to Karen Freberg's social media class at the University of Louisville (shout out to any readers from the #Freberg14 crew!).


The lectures are fun for us and students, and we're more than happy to allow recording for your future use. All you need at your end is a single computer with webcam and a strong broadband connection for us to appear in your classroom in real-time.   


Contact us for more info!


Attention Corporate Boards of Directors (and those who serve them). 


If you're connected with a corporate board of directors in some way and think that board would benefit from having a veteran crisis management pro amongst its membership, please contact me. -- Jonathan



Business Announcements 

(aka blatant self-promotion) 



Are Your Social Media Managers Crisis Trained?

A solid social media manager has quickly become a must-have for organizations of any size, and can make an immense difference by driving in customers and building your positive reputation online.

The problem is, the vast majority are simply not equipped to even identify building crises, much less take the steps necessary to cope with and mitigate the damage that can result.

That's where we come in.

Bernstein Crisis Management is now offering crisis management training for social media managers, both independent and in-house, as well as social media firms.

For an overview of our services, estimates, or more information, contact erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Traditional Social Media Training

Want to get your feet wet with social media but don't know where to start? Maybe you have accounts, but aren't sure what to post, or how to reply?

Being active on social media is a must these days, but you have to do it right. Erik Bernstein, Bernstein Crisis Management's Social Media Manager, now offers social media training sessions in person or via Skype for groups and individuals.

For questions or pricing info, please email erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Expanded Crisis Manager Bookstore 


We've recently expanded the Crisis Manager Bookstore to include offerings from esteemed colleagues like Melissa Agnes, Gerald Baron, Chris Syme and Jim Lukaszewski that cover topics from crisis communication and traditional PR to social media and cutting-edge crisis management.  We'll be adding other authors we admire in the weeks ahead. 

Visit the new Crisis Manager Bookstore to see all of the  material available now!


Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training 

Book Cover JPG

Learn how to deal with traditional or social media during a crisis in this educational and entertaining guide from

Crisis Manager publisher Jonathan Bernstein. 


$25 for hard copy, $10 for PDF.


Head to the Crisis Manager Bookstore for more information and/or to purchase.



Whether you're a seasoned manager, aspiring up-and-comer, or student of crisis management, Jonathan Bernstein's textbook,Manager's Guide to Crisis Management will put you in control of any situation. 



Guest Authors

Guest authors are very welcome to submit material for "Crisis Manager." There is no fee paid, but most guest authors have reported receiving business inquiries as a result of appearing in this publication. Case histories, experience-based lessons, commentary on current news events and editorial opinion are all eligible for consideration. Submission is not a guarantee of acceptance.


About Us


   Erik Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is both publisher of Crisis Manager and president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting.

Write to Jonathan at: jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.

Erik Bernstein is editor of Crisis Manager and Social Media Manager/Lead Social Media Trainer for Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

Write to Erik at: erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.


Legal Disclaimer (aka the small print)

All information contained herein is obtained by Jonathan Bernstein from sources believed by Jonathan Bernstein to be accurate and reliable. 


Because of the possibility of human and mechanical error as well as other factors, neither Jonathan Bernstein nor Bernstein Crisis Management is responsible for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Bernstein Crisis Management and Jonathan Bernstein make no representations and disclaim all express, implied, and statutory warranties of any kind to the user and/or any third party including, without limitation, warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose.  


Unless due to willful tortuous misconduct or gross negligence, Jonathan Bernstein and Bernstein Crisis Management shall have no liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability), to the user and/or any third party.  


Under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages.  


A service of this newsletter is to provide news summaries and/or snippets to readers. In such instances articles and/or snippets will be reprinted as they are received from the originating party or as they are displayed on the originating website or in the original article. As we do not write the news, we merely point readers to it, under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever due to the distribution of said news articles or snippets that lead readers to a full article on a news service's website, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Authors of the original news story and their publications shall be exclusively held liable. Any corrections to news stories are not mandatory and shall be printed at the discretion of the list moderator after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.


In This Issue
Just A Thought
Apropos of Nothing
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