This morning (Sunday Dec 20th) the BBC has broadcast an interview with Eurostar chief executive. I am appalled.
1. The poor guy seems to be there by mistake. Not to be disrepectful, I had flashes of old Mr Bean sketches.
What he should have done: be calm, show control of the situation. Not sit back in passive mode, but put arms on the table and show initiative and interest. Look at how the interviewers (esp. the lady) seem about to jump across the table!
2. He does not seem to know (or to be able to talk?) about details. This causes him to display a denial attitude.
What he should have said: clearly acknowledge that something has gone wrong beyond necessary, that he has talked to passengers himself and has heard their stories, and that he will committ to provide complete clarity and take the necessary actions with whomever was responsible for unnecessary pain.
3. He seems to be uncomfortaby defending his company and even suggesting, but then retracting, responsibility of Eurotunnel.
What he should have said: explain that in a crisis situation it is imperative that responsibilities are followed very clearly and explain what Eurostar versus Eurotunnel respective areas of responsibility were.
Why I am so appalled
I would not want to be in his shoes now and I understand it’s not an easy moment, however he keeps insisting on the same mistake: poor PR!
Now that the emergency is over the PR teams should have had the whole night to put together a communication strategy and brief all officials with facts and key messages. This visibly has not happened or if it has, it’s not good. As I observed yesterday, it’s again a communication failure.
In the meanwhile on Twitter…
After the emergency, Eurostar is now updating through Twitter on @little_break (UK) and @creamoflondon (for Brussels)
Yesterday’s analysis of Eurostar PR fallouts from tunnel incident.
Here’s a good analysis: http://www.northumbrian.org.uk/2009/12/some-thoughts-on-where-eurostars-communications-went-wrong/