Eurostar's nightmare Christmas continues. First it was the fluffy French snow causing it problems and now Eurostar's communication with its customers is coming under the microscope.
In the initial stages of the crisis with thousands of people were trapped on Eurostar trains there was a problem not only with passengers not having any food or water but a complete lack of communication from the train operator.
The background to this should serve as a warning to any major company unsure if its needs to establish a powerful Social Media presence. Eurostar have only very recently contracted an agency to handle its Social Media and its half hearted approach has compounded its problems with the cold weather.
Crucially this marketing campaign focused around the "Little Break, Big Difference" concept and didn't include any form of brand protection.
Thus two crucial Twitter addresses "eurostar" and "eurostar_uk" remained outside the control of Eurostar, with the http://twitter.com/eurostar address being used by a chap in Shanghai whose tweets, in Mandarin, were unlikely to be of much use to passengers trapped on trains in France and England.
As thousands of stranded passengers looked online to seek up to the minute information and perhaps pose a question to a Eurostar representative they found a company who had sadly neglected its Social Media presence. The information gap was most keenly felt by passengers stranded in the tunnels as Eurostar couldn't even communicate to its staff on the ground as Eurotunnel controls all communication.
Queue an online torrent of abuse for Eurostar with many tweets from the stranded passengers describing the chaos and the lack of communication from Eurostar about the unfolding situation.
Since the initial chaos Eurostar have drafted in Social Media experts who have been managing and updating Eurostar's Tweets and Blogs and creating a Questions and Answers page where customers can get the very latest up to the minute information.