After Hurricane Irene spread its wrath along the East Coast back in late August, millions of people were left without power. Many of Irene's victims had to make do without many of life's modern-day conveniences for several days, including cable and Internet services.
Broadband communications and entertainment company Cox Communications saw an opportunity to help frustrated subscribers – and boost awareness – by offering free phone and Internet service credits for those who lost power during the storm. Subscribers also had the option of visiting Cox Solution Stores to recharge their cell phones, check email, use telephones, pay bills online, and watch television.
“We are accustomed to storms, but Irene looked like it would be a Category 2 hurricane,” explained Felicia Blow, director of public affairs at Cox. “Thankfully it was only a Category 1, but it caused significant damage. We knew our customers were struggling to get their lives restored.”
PR Play rating:
3. On the right track
Using social media to publicize its efforts, Cox also launched its Random Acts of Kindness program, featuring residents who have helped friends and neighbors impacted by the storm. People had the opportunity to submit stories through social media sites including Facebook. Ten subscribers were selected to receive care packages to let them know Cox “cares about them.” Prizes included Cox merchandise such as T-shirts, aluminum sports bottles, key chains, and plush Digi animals, the company's mascot.
Cox reports a 560% increase in Facebook user activity since Random Acts of Kindness launched, as well as a 2,152% increase in user commenting and liking. “It be-came a very important vehicle for customers, even more so than we anticipated,” said Blow.
While cable and Internet companies often get a bad rap for subpar customer-service efforts, Cox went the extra mile to help its subscribers get through Irene's aftermath. Moreover, acknowledging the kindness of others during a severe crisis was a worthy way to stand out from its competitors.