Online Banking Troubles, TikTok Shutdowns, Amazon Frowns at ‘Smile’

Whenever a company makes a change or goes through a crisis, it needs to think of everyone involved, including investors and executives, but also employees, users, members and providers. It is seldom just about profit, but also about reputation and trust.

This week’s notable PR articles and stories showcase change and crises. In some cases, a change leads to an unintended crisis if not properly communicated.

Cell Snafu gives Bank of America a headache

What happened? On January 18th, many cell customers logged into their accounts and found their funds were not transferred or were completely missing. Some even found their Bank of America (BOA) cell accounts to be overdrawn. Customers complained on social media, particularly after being unable to reach BOA’s busy customer service department.

answered in the cell news, Blame BOA (a cell shareholder) and say transactions outside of BOA accounts are unaffected. Around 3:00 p.m. ET, BOA said the issue was resolved. No details were given as to how or why the outage occurred.

communication lessons: Online banking is not new. Whether it’s PayPal, Venmo, orzelle, Americans are used to peer-to-peer and now bank-to-customer money management. While the majority of Americans uses digital banking at least once a week (65.3%, according to Statista), customer trust remains a common goal in banking in a world plagued by cybersecurity issues.

For BOA or cell users, this incident may reduce trust in the platform.

“Banks and corporations like Zelle build their business on trust,” said Elizabeth Kenigsberg, head of cybersecurity and technology at SKDK. “When that trust is breached, whether through fraud or a glitch, providers need to be as transparent as possible. Consumers should know if and how they were affected and what the company is doing to fix the problem.”

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While Zelle spoke through numerous articles and social media platforms, BOA appeared to be silent. It’s not called crisis communication for nothing. Notifying customers with frequent updates across multiple platforms is hot in 2023.

Amazon frowns at Amazon Smile

What happened: While Amazon’s layoffs made headlines, it surprised users when it ended its customer charity program. Amazon smile. Members received notification through a nondescript email with the subject line “Update on AmazonSmile.” The e-mail states that Smile did not have the desired effect. It also mentioned continued support for internal charity projects.

“We will continue to pursue and invest in other areas where we have seen we can make meaningful change – from building affordable housing to providing access to computer science education for students in underserved communities to using our logistical infrastructure and technology to provide support.” broader communities affected by natural disasters”.

The email also explained how Amazon will phase out certain Smile charities. Amazon also published the information on its website.

communication lessons: Many people find their email inboxes overflowing. Amazon emails come and go, many disguised as phishing attempts. People might overlook such an announcement or not even see it when it goes to the junk mail folder.

The outrage spread on social media after not only members but also charities discovered the news. Many charities – large and small – have debated Amazon’s claims that Smile has no impact.

In The edgeBarbara Krasnoff lamented the announcement. “Sometimes I wish the PR departments at these companies could bring themselves to be a little more honest about these things,” Krasnoff wrote.

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Likewise, Dini von Mueffling, Founder and CEO of Dini von Mueffling Communications, desires honesty and detail.

“I would have liked to see a statement that spoke about the pride Amazon felt in giving $500 million to charities over the years that the program has existed, with a clever reference to why they chose to.” have decided to take this new direction.” and how that will make “a bigger impact”.

Heather Desantis-Holmes, CEO and founder of Publicity for Good, says Amazon’s move has far-reaching implications.

“Consumers want choices about where their money goes, especially when it comes to charities,” she says. “The alignment of values ​​and beliefs in a donation is crucial.”

End of school for TikTok

What happened: Auburn University announced a campus-wide facility, among other colleges TikTok ban in response to security and privacy concerns. The action came as 19 governors also banned the use of the video app on government-issued devices. The Biden administration is negotiating security and privacy issues with Chinese-owned TikTok. Some lawmakers fear TikTok poses a national security risk.

The EU also has concerns about TikTok.

However, students cannot go down without a fight. A New York Times article describes workarounds. According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of US teens use TikTok, which ranks the popularity of social apps second behind YouTube.

Communication class: There are always workarounds.

Remember Napster in the early 2000s? Other platforms popped up in its place.

The game here educates students and helps them understand why banning TikTok matters. Communications should explain privacy concerns and issues in real-world terms and post on student forums and social media platforms. This could help students understand potential issues with using the app, at least until Washington and TikTok agree on privacy guidelines.

Join us next Friday for another recap. Until then, have a good week and try to stay out of a crisis!

Nicole Schumann is Senior Editor at PRNEWS. follow her @buffalo