I decided to critique a case study called,”SearsKilledMyDog.com: The Anatomy of a Social Media Nightmare Averted – A Case Study”  I chose this case study because, it caught my eye. “Searskilledmydog.com” That is a pretty strong website name- how can you not be curious about it?

What happened in the case study was that this couple bought a freezer from their local Sears, when the freezer was delivered the delivery man hit the couples dog, Toot, and it was fatally injured. The couple went to Sears and basically Sears said, “Sorry about your loss it’s not our responsibility though.”

So, the couple made the website, “SearsKilledMyDog.com” and within two days of posting their story Sears found out about the story and dealt with it. The case study explains that the local Sears did nothing wrong and that Sears PR people did right And, based on the authors examples of what Sears did right:

  • The team made their best effort to understand the problem with what they knew at the time.
  • A course of action was decided, and then immediately implemented.
  • Senior management reached out to Peggy and David, asked what they could do to make it right, and then went beyond the customer’s expectation

I agree, Sears PR did do a great job. They did everything as they should and the couple ended up taking the website down by their own choice.

My critique about this case study is that this ‘social media nightmare’ could have been avoided altogether if the local Sears would have dealt with the couple better after the situation happened. You don’t tell a grieving couple that they shouldn’t have let their dog out (although of course they shouldn’t have). Perhaps internal communications could have been better in this situation, with a more straightforward plan if a crisis does occur. Obviously I wouldn’t expect them to have something like that written in the books but the PR team knew what to do right- why didn’t the local store know?

I did really like that they handled it quickly, they didn’t ask the couple to take down the website, and that they didn’t try and hide what happened or shy away from solving the problem.