Sony fail to manage PlayStation crisis on Twitter

Published on 28 April 2011 by in Customer Service, Latest News

sony social media Sony fail to manage PlayStation crisis on Twitter

This week, Sony revealed its online gaming network for PlayStation users had been compromised by a hacking attack. According to official reports from the company, the PlayStation Network, home to 75 million users, had been a victim of an “external intrusion”, which may have resulted in the theft of personal data including passwords and credit card details.

This is a huge crisis situation for Sony in normal circumstances. But while news of the data leak came earlier this week, it was revealed the company had been aware of the hacking attempt for some time, electing to keep the information private, while simultaneously restricting access to the PlayStation network over Easter weekend.

From a customer service point of view, there are a few issues:

The first one is a lack of communication. Over Easter weekend, the company’s official Twitter account was besieged with mentions; aggrieved users who were upset online gaming was unavailable over the Easter period. You can see from the chart below, which monitors the number of references to the official Playstation account on Twitter, the growth in correspondence over the Easter period.

Some comments from upset Twitter users included:

“What’s up with the PlayStation network?”

“An error has occurred while signing into your PlayStation network” Well happy Easter to you too”

“The PlayStation Network is down! Apparently it will be down for “a day or two” according to MSNBC…”

Of course, when news of the potential data leak became public, these instances on Twitter grew significantly (as you can see on the graph). One can only imagine that Sony faced the same increase of traffic across all their customer contact channels.

However, despite this significant level of customer interaction on Twitter, the official PlayStation account remained inactive, only posting nine tweets between the 21st and 28th April. Between April 21st and April 23rd, the Twitter account was not updated at all.

This lack of communication only helped to solidify concerns that something was seriously wrong with the PlayStation network. Indeed, once Sony revealed the news of the hack, many expressed anger towards the company because of this lack of communication.

These were just some of the tweets relating to Sony’s inability to communicate to customers:

“If you are into crisis management follow @PlayStation – not sure they are responding true to the needs of social media.”

“@playstation instead of advertising games on your twitter account try assuring your customers their information is safe & secure.”

The lesson here is that if you’re using social networks like Twitter, you should be prepared to manage it in a way customers expect.

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