Transparency is a Must in the Social Media Age…Get it Legacy.com?

July 14, 2010
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You probably have seen the recent post ?The Great Legacy.com Swindle.?

The author was critical of the lack of transparency in Legacy?s pricing and billing procedures. First, the writer could not determine the cost of Legacy?s service until well into the process. Secondly, Legacy was issuing a general solicitation for funds to perpetuate the memorial in question. How could one know if others had already paid the same fee?

Legacy issued an apology the next day and promised to address the issues, but it was too late?word had already spread like wildfire! Within a week of the post there have been hundreds of tweets and articles popping up all over the internet. Why wasn?t this criticism anticipated by management at Legacy? Could this PR nightmare have been avoided and if so, how?

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The answers are ?yes? and ?more transparency.?

If you are providing services to clients via the internet?or you rely upon the services of other vendors (like Legacy) who are internet-based, I recommend that you have friends who are outside of the industry do a ?test run? on the internet services offered to see if they are logical, transparent and user friendly. Ask if they feel that the process builds a sense of trust and reduces the FUD factor (fear, uncertainty and doubt).

Next, make sure there is an easy way for clients to provide feedback if they have questions or concerns?and that you are regularly monitoring that feedback. Finally, have a response plan so that you can react and respond timely. Social Media has provided consumers with the authority to speak up, from which they can praise or condemn your business. Just as this one post forced Legacy to respond and change procedures quickly, you must be prepared to do instant damage control if needed.

Whether Legacy was intentionally using non-transparent techniques or is only guilty of oversight is beside the point. Legacy suddenly found itself caught in an embarrassing spotlight. Let?s learn from their mistake by being transparent in internet offerings.

How can your business utilize social media to become more transparent?

Here are just a few of the articles posted on the topic.

The Great Legacy Swindle

New York Times and other papers use deceptive death-notice company

Financing Final Farewells: Legacy.com and the Business of Death

About the Author:

Tiffany Stewart is currently a graduate student at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas and expects to complete a Masters in Counseling in 2011. Her areas of interest include geriatrics, caring for families affected by Alzheimer?s and the death-care industry. ?I decided to intern with ConnectingDirectors.com because they are at the forefront of news, trends and transitions within the death-care industry and that is exactly where I want to be.? Tiffany is also a competitive cyclist and enjoys outdoor activities. Connect with Tiffany on Facebook.

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