The summer period... a joyous time for holidaymakers, yet often a less-than-joyous time for airlines and holiday providers who often bear the brunt of criticism when said holidaymakers feel their trip of a lifetime has been compromised.
Arguably, no one currently feels that as acutely as EasyJet and British Airways. Both of whom came under fire in the last couple of weeks after their attempts to smooth customer queries on Twitter ended up going viral or as one publication called it, got ‘mercilessly trolled’.
First up was EasyJet who opened up the Twitter jury after asking for a photo of ‘backless seat’ to be taken down. BA then came under this same scrutiny after they inadvertently admitted they had misplaced 150,000 bags.
As a PR, I couldn’t help but gawk at the story. Despite the slip up originating from a mis-step by someone part of the Twitter customer support team, media dubbed the slip up a ‘PR fail’.
In reality, the core PR teams are likely to have only been made aware of the issue when it was swooped up by online publications and the internal requests for media statements come hurried through the inbox.
This goes to show how important it is for PR and social media to be intrinsically linked. From PR managers, to the people having to post cheery responses to irritated customers – there needs to be a solid process in place to ensure that potentially prickly tweets get the discerning PR eye.
Twitter can’t be underestimated as a hunting ground for stories for journalists. This serves as a reminder of the increasingly multi-faceted role PR plays when it comes to managing crisis and communications across multiple platforms and across a variety of teams.
Ultimately, whilst the social team are the ones batting off the stream of responses, it is the reputation of the PR team’s name that is brought in to question.
PRs need to push for that seat at the social media table from the get go, PR isn't just the way to rectify crisis, it's also the way to prevent it.
Whilst the social team are the ones batting off the stream of responses, it is the reputation of the PR team’s name that is brought in to question.