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Social media has its place but don't forget basic communications, warns KISS Public Relations

30 June, 2011 Reading: 2:08 mins

Social media has its place but don't forget basic communications, warns KISS Public Relations

When it comes to social media and the use of blogging and tweeting as a way of communicating with customers, stakeholders and prospective clients, big corporates have driven interaction to a new level. However, according to Justine Smith, PR director at KISS Public Relations, companies can often spend too much time on social media and forget to implement basic communications with existing customers. Justine explains, “Eurostar and British Airways were perfect examples recently of two large, sophisticated organisations that have significant PR and communications expertise that forgot to speak to their customers in a crisis. Both companies lack of crisis management was exposed in December. Whether it was poor weather leading to cancelled flights over the Christmas period or the baggage handlers strike, BA’s contingency planning and almost non-existent PR and communications left travellers fuming. “Eurostar’s communications fared little better,” says Justine “Over 2,000 people spent hours trapped inside the Channel Tunnel after five Eurostar trains broke down due to cold weather. While the conditions which caused this situation were “absolutely extraordinary and unprecedented” according to John Keefe from Eurotunnel, what has damaged the reputation of Eurostar is the company’s inadequate communications. Passengers complained that there was literally no communication from staff and little advice or guidance on an evacuation procedure. “Clear, simple and honest communication will make customers sympathetic to a situation whereas no communication just makes customers angry and unlikely to use your services again,” says Justine. “Every crisis is different, but you can be prepared. We always sit down with clients from the outset and develop a crisis plan to ensure there are clear procedures in place. This will not only include an analysis of the risks but will also identify a crisis management team and a dedicated spokesperson trained to handle the media in a crisis.” Crisis management is one of the services KISS Public Relations offer. “Many companies know it’s something they should consider but don’t have a strategy in place,” explains Justine. “All too often companies wait until a crisis has developed and then take a reactive stance on fire fighting the situation. KISS Public Relations is a division of KISS Communications. The company is focused on delivering creative, effective and results-driven public relations campaigns that give clients a tangible return on their investment. Headed up by Justine Smith, KISS Public Relations was launched in January 2010.

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