Published - 23rd April 2010
As a ‘victim’ of the recent flying hiatus and with no aeroplanes to view, my observations soon turned to the communications performance of those who were calling the shots – NATS (now a familiar acronym – ah, the power of the media!) the airlines and the politicians.
Certainly in the early days, NATS seemed to get it right. Its spokesperson was right there in the media spotlight, telling us how it was. So whilst the news was not good, at least we knew where we stood. Very still, in fact.
Compare that with the airlines which, on the surface (sorry…), had no clear crisis management plan to fall back on. Yes, I appreciate we were sailing in unchartered waters (it was oh so painful to even write that!) but access to any clear information proved virtually impossible. Even now, try finding your way around easyJet’s website to cancel flights and obtain refunds – it’s nigh on impossible, and I speak from bitter experience!
Then there were our dear political leaders.
“We’re sending Royal Navy ships.”
“We’re not sending Royal Navy ships.”
“We’re didn’t over-react.”
“We did over-react.”
And I’ve not yet mentioned the travel insurance companies – the only ones who could fly at the speed of sound in the opposite direction…
The lesson? A credible and robust communications crisis management plan should be at the very core of your business. You never know when you’re going to need it, and the fallout of going without can leave you grounded when, all around you, your competitors are taking off…