|Type of paper:||Case study|
|Categories:||Airline industry Business communication Crisis management Customer service|
The 2007 Valentine's Day signifies a unique period in the historical calendar of JetBlue Airways. The company found itself amid a major operational crisis which would later tarnish its seven-year history of excellent public image and also threaten its financial stability (Argenti, 2013). The airline's lack of effective communication with internal and external stakeholders left many of its passengers disoriented due to flight cancellation and waiting aboard planes on the tarmac for hours. This paper analyses the best options, approaches and strategies that would help the crisis managers at JetBlue to resolve the situation and restore the company's reputation.
In any business environment, an unforeseen crisis can present several challenges that may result not only in financial instability but also in uncertainty within that business. Indeed, the potential impacts of these unforeseen events in an organization are often critical and can be as damaging as a loss of valuable corporate assets or a drop in overall productivity. Since business catastrophes are varied and unique, there is no particular communication strategy that can be universally applied in the wake of a crisis; therefore, organizations often rely on certain communication principles to interact effectively with stakeholders, to protect and enhance their image with customers.
There are several ways JetBlue Airways could have better communicated with its internal stakeholders across the country on Valentine's Day. For instance, the airways could have prepared all the employees ahead of time. It is often critical for employees to be aware of an organization's policies and procedures, especially during a time of crisis since every employee react differently during such times. Employees must be well informed since they are the people responsible for picking up the pieces when restoring the company's image through a crisis. Similarly, JetBlue should have identified a crisis communication team. This crisis team should include legal experts and public relation to guide the company in communicating with various internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, the company should have developed a crisis communication plan that involves honesty. For a large organization like JetBlue, various communication channels such as emails or intranet can be leveraged to communicate the right information. For example, if the company is not ready to release detailed message to the public, that should first be communicated with internal stakeholders. Moreover, JetBlue should have advised its internal stakeholders to observe accuracy rather than efficiency. Although the response is vital in such a crisis, employees should not feel the rush to publish something without first consulting or without determining the accuracy of the information.
Organizations' spokespersons are critical during a time of crisis as they tend to give that organization a human form; however, they require adequate training. No one should be allowed to represent any organization, especially during a time of crisis without undergoing rigorous training and investing his or her time in understanding the crisis and developing the skills for an effective spokesperson.
The corporate communications team at JetBlue should have arranged for CEO David Neeleman to appear on national television because of the potential benefits it could have brought to the company's reputation. For instance, appearing on national television and talk show circuits following the crisis could have allowed the company to offer more details to the public about the crisis. Any wrong information that might have spread during the crisis could easily be clarified on live television. It could have also provided the company with the opportunity to apologize publicly and reassure its clients through the measures it has taken. Also, through television, information may have spread quickly to reach those who were still in doubt about the company's operations. This could have helped bring the company closer with its lost clients. Nevertheless, certain risks to the company's reputation may have emerged, especially since there is lack of control over the message content. Sometimes, the message may be crafted in a way that does not improve the company's reputation.
Although cooperate advertising programs have various disadvantages such as limited self-promotion, it is advisable for an organization like JetBlue Airways since it is effective for businesses going through a crisis and having bad public relation. This is because these programs are usually an extension of the public relation activities carried out by companies as measures to improve or restore their public images.
Marketing Customer's Bill of Rights to both the internal and external stakeholders is critical in building a positive reputation towards the business. For the internal stakeholders, marketing should involve putting the bill and all the information about it on the JetBlue's intranet. It should also involve putting training information about the Customer's Bill of Rights on the company's intranet and emailing them to all the persons involved, including internal employees and investors. Similarly, marketing the bill to external stakeholders should involve putting the bill and all the information about it on the company's website for all the customers to access. It may also involve sending emails to customers with information about the bill to win them back. This will improve the company's reputation as it will inform the clients about the changes the company is willing and has already made.
Argenti, P. A. (2013). Corporate communication (6th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin Companies, Inc.
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