Tuesday, August 13, 2013
One of the first rules of a crisis is to avoid speaking until you know the facts. Otherwise, you risk loss of credibility and embarrassment. It looks like the President of Xerox's office and solutions systems group doesn't know the rule. He has had to eat his words from last week and inform customers this week that he was wrong. Some background. A Xerox customer discovered that Xerox scanners would randomly change numbers on poorly printed documents. Xerox last week assured customers that this glitch occurred only at the lowest scanning resolution. This week it announced that the same error occurs even at the scanner's highest resolution. Xerox is scrambling to fix the problem and customers are left wondering if any of their documents have phony numbers, and if so, what the potential damage might be. One would like to know why Xerox's president was certain the error happened only at low resolution. Did the company test documents? If it did, it didn't test enough of them or the test wasn't rigorous enough. So, now the president lacks credibility. The next time he makes an announcement he should be certain of what he is going to say and better yet, he should couch his words just in case he might be proved wrong again. It is a bad position to be in, made worse by the fact that one has done it to himself.