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Taxi Tales

Posted on February 16, 2016, at 9:35 p.m.
by Shelby Bonner.

In a valiant effort to make the cabs of Australia better, the Victoria Taxi Association hired a PR firm to save the day. Only, it did the exact opposite.

The Melbourne-based PR social media agency Ellis Jones came up with the idea to launch a hashtag campaign on Twitter in order to repair the reputation of the Victoria Taxi Association. The situation quickly went from bad to worse.

According to Ragan’s PR Daily, “Its #YourTaxis campaign, intended to encourage customers to tweet their positive experiences, immediately took an ugly turn when people shared their horror stories instead. VTA leadership shuttered the campaign after one week.” The negative stories shared included the following:

@ sophbenj[email protected] Many times a taxi slowed down as I hailed it, asked where I wanted to go, then sped off because the fare was too low #YourTaxis”

@ Daveo_au “That time when the driver changed his mind and decided he ‘didn’t want to go that far’ so left me in an unknown suburb at 3am #YourTaxis”

Just a few days after this huge social media miscalculation, the Victoria Taxi Association Twitter account did it again.






The social media team not only misspelled “Remembrance” in a tweet that was supposed to recognize veterans on their Remembrance Day. They also received criticism for “hijacking” Remembrance Day in order to further their PR campaign. They later released several apologies for this mistake. One apology read, “We apologise to all servicemen and women, their families and the wider community for a mistake that should never have happened.”

So, what can we learn from these epic @YourTaxis blunders?

  • Positive feelings are organic — People aren’t prone to sharing their positive experiences on the Internet. Generally, people express their concerns and negative encounters via social media. When given the opportunity, most people will warn others of the issues they encountered with a particular business instead of singing its praises. Be wary of using social mediaas a means to encourage your customers to “share positive experiences.”
  • Offer a resolution — Don’t just give your audience an opportunity for communication. If you’re going to be willing to interact with your followers, then you must be able to offer them solutions as well. You must be ready and willing to work with them to find a way to fix the issue that they are facing, not just offer empty reassurances.
  • Once more, with feeling — Make sure you apologize, with gusto. Don’t give an apology that leaves people guessing. Explain what happened, let them know how you feel about it, and be sure that you get your feelings across.
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