Friday, 8 March 2013

Human stories still the best way to boost reputations

Two great human interest stories today which help to show big organisations in a positive light. Both demonstrate the power of stories to connect and inspire us with both being shared hugely on social media.

The first is about United Airlines in America who delivered exceptional customer service to help a passenger get home to say goodbye to their dying mother. The airline had quite a few individuals who made extra efforts to help the passenger in a moment of real distress as this Sky News story shows. It would be easy for the airline to get their response wrong but the way the United spokeswoman downplayed their involvement, letting the story speak for itself is really class, "Our employees really worked together that day to help this customer" she said simply.

The other story is one closer to home where Transport for London are bringing back a vintage "Mind The Gap" recording, originally made in the 1960s. The blog has the full story.

In summary, in a strange quirk there was just one platform on the Northern Line where the recording of Peter Lodge's voice still warned passengers of the danger. Elsewhere on the Underground his recordings had long been overtaken by more modern versions. For reasons unknown this last platform recently replaced his recording too. Until TFL got a letter from Tony Lodge's widow saying that after he died she used to go to Embankment tube station just to hear his voice, and now she couldn't. So they decided to put it back for her. 

Both these stories make you feel good about the organisations involved as they have dealt with potentially challenging situations with real empathy and a personal touch. There are lessons for others who may be scrambling around for positive media coverage or an enhanced reputation; how you go about your business is how you will be perceived.  

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