Eurostar crisis compounded by embarrassing email

Last night, four Eurostar trains got stuck in the Channel Tunnel. People were stranded for 12 or more hours. You might have seen it on the news.

Not a pleasant experience for any of the passengers involved. So it was interesting to see a marketing email from Eurostar in my inbox this morning.

“Give a continental gift this Christmas,” proclaims the subject line, excitedly. And it gets worse: “Eurostar has the perfect present for your nearest and dearest – an experience they’ll never forget.” Twelve hours stuck on a train in a tunnel? You can say that again. Here’s the full email.

As this message arrived in the middle of the night, I assume it was scheduled to send at a specific time by their marketing team. However, by the time it reached my inbox, the stuck trains issue was hitting the headlines and clearly a serious problem.

Making sure your marketing, PR and customer service teams are communicating effectively is important at all times, but particularly essential during a crisis. The last thing you need is to make things any worse for yourself.

An important task should be to close down any communications that could make things even worse than they are already. That’s why companies sometimes pull ads at short notice – usually in response to a PR problem or major news story breaking.

In this case, that clearly hasn’t happened. And while you could argue that Eurostar had more pressing issues to deal with – like getting help to the 2,000-odd people stuck on trains – it usually takes a single click to stop a mailing. And that might have saved a little bit of embarassment.

Maybe there’s a lesson for all of us there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *