Finally, a brand that reacted well and joined the social web, a brand that has shown enormous understanding for the new rules of the web and transformed successfully: iTechia!
iTechia is tech store in Saudi Arabia, has branches across main cities, known for being the first to bring the latest tech items to the Saudi market, especially Apple products.
Itechia had a great challenge when one of the staff had asked a visiting mom and her disabled child to be careful when they are touring around the store as that might affect the “flooring”.
The mom went outrageous for such a request, however inclined and left her son outside, Bought the item perused and left. When one of the child’s relatives (his uncle) knew about the incident, who’s a well respected man who owns an internet investment company and is considered a tech thought leader in Saudi, he tweeted about the incident and mentioned that he will never visit the store again.
Thousands of followers were horrified by the accident and started retweeting, and a hashtag under #itechia was created, and the rest is history. More than a 2000 sole tweets on the subject other than the retweets of the original tweet registered on that hashtag, in a couple of days.
The issue escalated until reached influential people like the famous TV host Mona abou solaiman of “kalam nawaaem” who tweeted about it expressing her sympathy with the child. This only made more people aware of the subject, if not participating.
Welcome to the new world of Twitter.
We were eagerly watching how itechia brand would manage such online crisis. Itechia has a non-active twitter account, and an abandoned facebook page! There were no indications that itechia brand will appear and join the conversation.
Suddenly, the well-respected man who called for the apology tweeted that itechia owner, and the chairman of the board has apologized of the incident and showed empathy for the mom & child, and that he respects itechia for such a gesture. Additionally, itechia has offered a public apology to the child in the same outlet and invited people!
As the norm from the good people in Saudi, after the apology, the same uncle started defending itechia on Twitter infront of the other tweeters who kept on blogging about it. Mentioning that the apology was accepted & is enough, and we don’t need to peruse a boycott.
Itechia twitter account came to life also, and connected with all the complaints explaining that itechia would never allow such acts and promised a solution urgently. In the same time, replied to many people who asked about the incident, responsibly, honestly and clearly.
A great gesture & prompt reaction. Well-done itechia.
This should be a heads-up for the other brands out there, who are in an online coma!
Amer is the founder of Hashtag, a new social media agency that specializes in humanizing brands on the web in the Middle East.