The need to integrate customer service, marketing and PR is one I’ve talked about several times before. It’s an important theme because whilst from the corporate perspective these are often viewed as different skills, run by different teams (quite likely in different offices) and using different suppliers, from the point of view of the public they all merge in to one. When Googling for product information people will see news stories, when looking for customer service information people will come across marketing presences on social media and so on.
Eurostar’s disaster with broken down trains and stranded passengers demonstrates this all too clearly. Where do people turn in search of information at times like this? They look online and on social networks. And what did they find? Marketing messages going out via Twitter and email, but not information about who is stranded where and what’s happening.
The lack of such information is poor, but when added to finding cheery, positive marketing information instead – that’s just rubbing salt in to the wound.
UPDATE: There is of course a basic issue about the level of communications, whether integrated or not. Digital Stuffing has a good post on this angle.
UPDATE 2: Rob Fenwick also has a good post on the wider communications issues faced by Eurostar.