Riding Out the Storm and Protecting What Matters

25 Oct 2017

You don’t have to rack your brains very hard to come up with a list of events that have seriously impacted travelers over the last 12 months. In the last 3 months alone the travel industry has experienced the demise of Monarch Airlines and Air Berlin, the Ryanair flight cancellation debacle and if these business problems weren’t enough Mother Nature has inflicted Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose and Storm Ophelia on the long-suffering traveler.

Sadly, crises are unpredictable but inevitable! In our 24/7 world we are very aware that news channels, blogs and online forums are on top of crises within minutes of them occurring. The information given out is, by necessity, generalised and can be sensationalised leaving you, the agent or operator, having to clarify what the impact is to each of your customers. At times like this you are expected to be the problem solver and how you respond will live long in your customer’s memory.

From your customers’ perspective, it’s a very stressful time – Do they still get to travel? Is their departure delayed? Do they need to take avoidance action in resort? How are transfers affected? Are their travel arrangements changing? The questions are endless…

In effect, your brand and reputation are at stake for everything you say and more importantly for everything you don’t. Speed of communication on its own is not sufficient, you need to be accurate, relevant and responsive as situations develop. Customers understand that you couldn’t prevent the crisis but helping them navigate the situation in a frustration free manner will contribute very positively to your reputation and brand perception. Helping customers avoid tedious and expensive waits at airports, delivering early communication of itinerary changes, smooth re-booking or refund procedures will contribute significantly to positive brand perception and you’ll see those customer satisfaction ratings soar.

In reality when crises hit most travel companies will invoke their crisis management team along with a stream of processes designed to get them through the incident. The crisis management team will have many challenges to overcome with the biggest being consistent, accurate and appropriate communication yet we have all seen how difficult this is to achieve. Despite the many technology solutions in play at the operators and agencies it is rare to see an effective way to identify the varying customer groups and communicate with them in a cohesive and consistent manner.  More commonly we see a touch of chaos mixed with admirable intent!

Typically, you will see the crisis team pulling multiple reports, trying to identify which groups of customers need which messages. Manually created email groups get built for communication and all too often we see employees using their personal phones to issue text messages. Messaging becomes diluted and distorted as it moves down the chain of command while at the same time customers’ frustration and anger builds as communication delays occur. Just as one message is issued the challenge is repeated when an update is necessary. All of this resulting in a stressed, overworked, crisis management team and frustrated, worried and angry customers, leading to customer dissatisfaction and brand damage.

If you had the ability to quickly and simply identify any impacted customer and their specific journey stage plus coordinate and manage communication through standard platforms like email, SMS, social channels and in-App messaging then that would go a long way to easing the communication burden during a crisis. And we all know that customers that have experienced great service during problem times often become the most loyal and give the most glowing testimonials.

d-flo’s CrisisComms crisis communications system has been designed to provide a fast and simple method for communicating with customers via the essential item everyone carries with them – their mobile phone.

If protecting your company’s reputation and business with an adaptive and scalable solution or service for communicating with your customer’s in – or to pre-empt – a crisis then contact d-flo on +44 (0)20 3582 5210 or via info@dflo.co.uk for a confidential discussion.