Small reputational crisis at the Van Gogh Museum

The other day in Amsterdam, I felt like tweeting about my first impression right in the queue of the Van Gogh Museum, which was pretty negative.

I came from the Rijksmuseum, where the entry is free with a press accreditation and you are allowed to take pictures and share them. In the Van Gogh museum, however, a tough woman in the ticket booth made me pay 14€, even showing my press ID. Photos in the inside are strictly forbidden.

I know each museum has a different policy on this. In New York, for instance, you’re encouraged to shoot and share on social networks. In Abu Dhabi, on the contrary, I remember myself holding my iPhone in my hands to take some notes and almost being arrested by the security guards in Al Saadiyat, in Serra and Warhol exposition. Not so far away, right here in Spain, taking pictures in a museum is usually also forbidden.

I find it so unfortunate not letting people spread culture. Hey, I’m not defending those people who shoot the flash against a glass case or an old painting. I’m only saying that with some basic rules and common sense, everyone could be satisfied.

Since the day of my visit was a Saturday, I didn’t get any answer from the museum until Monday through its Twitter account. Very politely, they apologized and asked me if I could follow them in the social network to contact me from its press office. They actually dropped me an email saying that there is a special access for the media, right next to the “normal” one. The woman on the ticket booth should have been aware of this, allowing me to get inside.
Some days later, Linda, the girl from the communication department, wrote back to me offering some pictures of the collection and asking for my address to send me a little present:

There will be those who don’t consider this story important. Those who don’t listen to the customers. Those who don’t learn from the bad experiences. But this is an example of how social networks should be used to respond to the customers. Customers who pay for a service or a product. It takes so little to improve a company’s reputation. Simply do your best to be honest and give an explanation. Sounds easy right? Now it is the time to implement it.

You are on the Internet and everyone is talking about you. Can you hear them? Does your company know how to respond? Always keep in mind how valuable a satisfied customer is, because he will recommend you not only to friends and family, but also, to the whole Internet.

Thanks to the Van Gogh Museum again and congratulations for handling this situation so correctly.

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