Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another corporate reputation and bottom line hit!


Another organisation has had its corporate reputation hit today, this time by something which should and could have been easily avoided. TalkTalk have been fined £750,000 by Ofcom for making an excessive number of abandoned and silent calls. This is about the calls we have almost all received - the phone rings but there is no one there when we answer it.

A person receiving such as call is generally not able to see who made the call. The calls typically come from withheld or unavailable numbers meaning that caller display and 1471 won't show who has called. The implication of this is that prior to the fine and associated publicity it would be unlikely that anyone would associate the calls directly with TalkTalk. Their problem now, however, is that people receiving silent calls may well think of TalkTalk and wonder they are responsible. This means that there is an ongoing corporate reputation problem for TalkTalk due to previous activity even though they claim to have stopped it.

That final point is interesting too, the only response I have seen from TalkTalk is to say that they are no longer using the two call centres involved, blaming them for the issue. The wording did not accept any responsibility on the part of TalkTalk, just a comment about standards from suppliers. There is no comment on either the TalkTalk customer or corporate websites at the time of posting this blog which is poor crisis and reputation management from TalkTalk - how difficult is it to write a public apology?

What is clear from this is how important it is not just to ensure that an organisation's own operations comply with all legal requirements and expected ethical practices, but that this extends to suppliers and the wider supply chain as any problems reflect the corporate reputation of the headline organisation - TalkTalk in this instance.

Further details are available from the BBC here and from Which? here.