In the OfficeMax public-relations fiasco, don’t blame Big Data. Blame small thinking.
OfficeMax is getting much-deserved criticism after Mike Seay, a suburban Chicago resident, received a solicitation letter from the company, addressed to him and to “Daughter Killed in Car Crash.” Indeed, Seay lost his daughter in a car accident about a year ago. The letter, Seay told NBC 5 Chicago, opened old wounds since he thinks of his daughter “10,000 times a day.”
OfficeMax bungled the response in two key ways. First, it mishandled customer service, which is the front line of public relations. When Seay contacted customer service, he was met not with an apology, let alone sympathy, but rather with incredulity. He was literally told the letter he was holding in his hand was “impossible.” It was not until the company was contacted by the media that it said it was “deeply sorry” and would reach out to Seay directly to express its “sincerest apologies.”