Are employee social media rants the next wave of reputation worries?

Are employee social media rants the next wave of reputation worries?

If you’ve ever woken up to a social media firestorm, you know how much it hurts. An angry customer posts a titillating Tweet, a few friends share it and add their thoughts. The thread catches the eye of a reporter and suddenly you’re defending your business on the nightly news.

Now imagine that same scenario, but instead of a customer, it’s one of your own employees that lit the match! That’s what happened to both Radio Shack and Starbucks this week; with very different results.

We’ll start with Radio Shack. The beleaguered retail chain has been on a downward spiral since the iPhone replaced the beeper and CB radio. They started closing stores a few years ago and it looks like someone is angry about losing their job. That person left a rather nasty farewell on the Facebook page for a Radio Shack that was shuttered in Ohio. Several news outlets picked up the story, forcing Radio Shack Corporate to step in and do something – sort of. They posted a note on their corporate page, saying they believe the Ohio store page is bogus and they’re looking in to it. They also posted the image you see at the top of this post.

That’s an “official response”? A grainy, sarcastic attempt at humor that’s actually somewhat degrading and most assuredly lame? It’s almost as if Radio Shack is mocking their own inability to move into the 21st century.

With the company so close to closing forever, they’re obviously not too worried about protecting their reputation but they should be. Radio Shack was a groundbreaking company when it began, and they owe it to all of the loyal customers and workers not to let it go down as a joke.

On the other side of the social media fence, we have the Starbuck’s barista who doesn’t want you to buy a new Unicorn Frappuccino. Braden posted a video rant on Twitter begging customers to stop buying the ridiculous pink drink.

“I have unicorn crap all in my hair and on my nose. I have never been so stressed out in my entire life.”

His video went viral and now other baristas are joining in with social media posts about how the new drink has made their job a sparkly, living hell. Starbucks has refrained from replying and maybe that’s because the baristas aren’t the only ones singing the pink blues. Customers aren’t so happy either:

Even with all the complaining, people are still lining up to catch a unicorn while they can. It is – thankfully – available only for a limited time. In the future, Starbucks can avoid this kind of issue by having actual workers test the product to see if it can be prepared in a reasonable amount of time before releasing it to the public.

As for Braden the barista, he has since deleted his video – no word on whether or not he still has a job.