18 January 2006

Cunard steaming too slowly

Here we go again.

It looks like we are shaping up for another object lesson in how not handle crisis communications in the 21st century.

Cunard's flagship stopped working properly yesterday and had to return to port. So now there will be thousands of interested parties - passengers, their families, passengers with future bookings, travel agents, port officials, journalists, shareholders, etc etc - all clamouring for information at the same time.

"Is it serious? How long will it take to fix?"

These are questions for which Cunard simply doesn't have answers just yet, probably. But they do know what has happened (ship starting vibrating shortly after they left Port Everglades, Florida), when it happened (1pm local time yesterday) and what their response has been (gone back to port, sent divers down).

SO WHY ISN'T THAT INFORMATION ON THEIR WEBSITE ALREADY?????

...the very first place everybody in a connected 24hr digital world will look.

That way they could save themselves hundreds of inbound phone calls, and take control of the news. That way every one will know where to look for the latest updated information.

One of their sister companies (they are all owned by Carnival these days) P&O knows how to do it. When Oriana's engine broke at the start of a cruise last year, the info was quickly and continuously updated on their website.

Come on Cunard. It may only be mid-morning in Florida but these are no longer the quaint old days of Royal Mail ships steaming majestically across the Atlantic as your branding likes to evoke. News travels a bit quicker these days.

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