3 Call Center Lessons Nike’s #JustDoIt Campaign Backlash Hold
We just marked the first NFL Sunday, but a former player was on many marketers’ minds. Nike’s #JustDoIt campaign put the leader of the player protests, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, on every social media feed this week — because by having him be a face of the campaign, the shoe giant backed the protests. As a result, many customers dialed Nike’s call center. Here are the lessons from that.
Ensure Call-Takers Know Standard Practices
There’s always the run-of-the-mill call. Our article “12 Steps to Successful Telemarketing Calls” is a reader favorite and covers best practices for day-to-day customer calls. Getting the best practices down pat can help with the unexpected influx.
Nike call center managers reminded reps this week about standard responses, according to an article published Saturday in Rolling Stone. Matt Saincome writes in “What It Was Like Inside a Nike Call Center After the Colin Kaepernick Ad Dropped” that these lines came up a lot:
- “At Nike, we’re deeply sorry that you feel this way. May we take down feedback?”
- “Hey, let’s keep the call professional or it’s going to lead to conclusion.”
(Author’s note: If you click on the Rolling Stone hyperlink, much of the language in the article is NSFW.)
Determine If the Caller Is Angry or Abusive
As the standard responses above imply, the Rolling Stone article cataloged some angry customer calls. But marketers can recover from angry calls. In the case of abusive calls, Saincome’s article shows call center managers advised representatives to first say “Hey, let’s keep the call professional or it’s going to lead to conclusion.” Then they could hang up.
For angry callers, TalkDesk.com advises call center representatives to first listen, because the customer may just want to vent; speak in a calm voice and remember that the anger is at the problem, not the call center rep; “apologize about the problem, convey empathy and then summarize their main points”; avoid the hold button while researching the problem for an angry customer and talk calmly, with updates, about the research; and resolve the problem or make it up to them with a refund or voucher.
Avoid transfers and if you can’t talk them through the research, offer a call back so the angry customers aren’t on hold, ROIcallcentersolutions.com adds. If the call moves from angry to abusive, the site further suggests:
“At the first signs of hostility, or when the situation with the caller seems to be escalating, the rep should remind the customer that their call is being recorded — this should help defuse some customers.”
“Call center employees can average up to 10 hostile encounters a day in which they are subject to vile and personal insults, screaming, cursing and threats. Imagine being treated abusively in your job numerous times a day, every single day.”
Ensure Management Is Trained to Avoid Compounding Any Problems
The Rolling Stone article highlights the danger of not training managers about possible outcomes of marketing campaigns. This #JustDoIt campaign is related to NFL protests. Saincome’s article says call center managers making an effort to boost morale among the call reps bought them food. But it was Papa John’s.
Before Papa John’s stopped being the NFL pizza sponsor, I wrote in November 2017:
“Papa John's, the NFL’s official pizza sponsor, just had a bad earnings call. Now, the company’s founder claims the unresolved controversy about league players taking a knee in protest during the national anthem personally cost him $70 million in 24 hours.”
The company’s since made changes, but many still associate it with being opposed to player protests.
Bonus: Marketers Can Show Their Call Center Reps Their Campaigns and How They’re Being Received, So They’re Prepared
Here's what Nike customers saw on Sept. 3:
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Here’s what BoredPanda.com reported consumers were doing to tweak Nike’s ad (NSFW).
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Revisiting '12 Steps to Successful Telemarketing Calls'