If you found yourself stuck in queues at St Pancras Station last month, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Eurostar still has much to learn about communication with its customers.
Admittedly, the company responded to the latest setback with a little more efficiency than it had 12 months previously when trains were stuck in tunnels. Yet, there is still some way to go.
Companies may not want to admit to it, but social media isn’t just a simple communication tool: when it comes to a crisis, social media now has the power to drive the agenda and set the pace. During the Channel Tunnel crisis, Eurostar had just one Twitter handle for customers to reach – @littlebreak (part of its Little Break Big Difference marketing campaign.) This proved to be woefully inadequate in the circumstances.
Eurostar certainly appears to have taken on board the lesson and did increase its Twitter coverage, adding the handles @Eurostar and @Eurostarcomms to its arsenal, to answer questions and keep its customers informed about the latest problems it was encountering. However, the strategy fell down due to the lack of concrete information it was able to release to the travelling public. Although it was able to advise passengers to arrive an hour before their confirmed booking time, it failed to mention that the information was provided on a first come first served basis. Customers were understandably not best pleased.
Eurostar has learned the hard way that communication is the key to effective and efficient customer service.
If a company needs to get a message or information across quickly, then social media holds the key. Hopefully if there are more problems at some future date, Eurostar will be better prepared and will utilise the full power of social media to calm any potential crisis.