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Alert! Don't be the United Airlines CEO
Every Story follows it's own precipitous news arc. That's why we, the publicists at TVGuestpert, know how to place the story on the particular wave of crisis.
"It's all about 'pivoting' the story," says Jacquie Jordan, CEO and Founder of TVGuestpert, TVGuestpert Publishing and TVOnCameraTraining. "In this day and age where media stories are more difficult to bury because of technology and social media, it is more important than ever to have the CEO media ready to shift the focus if the storm of the story can't be waited out. And knowing this difference is particularly important."
United Airlines is now going to become synonymous for poor customer service; no more the "Friendly Skies." The CEO took a terrible PR situation and made it worse at every turn.
He broke every rule in the Crisis Management Playbook.
1) Didn't take immediate responsibility.
2) Didn't apologize.
3) Blamed the customer.
The irony of this is United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munez, was named Communicator of the Year by PR Week, only to be dethroned for handling a PR crisis that should have been an apology from the start.
What should have happened:
1) Apologize and restate the companies mission to serve the customer.
2) Reassure the consumer that the company takes full responsibility for a policy that may have caused harm.
3) Craft a legally careful "customer is always right" acknowledgement that customer's are first, and that this customer needed to be taken care of respectfully.