BA communication failure and the lessons law firms can learn

May 30, 2017

This past weekend we have seen BA hit by IT problems that have resulted in a complete meltdown of their service. Flights have been cancelled, luggage has been lost or misplaced and thousands of people have had their holidays and trips ruined. There is talk of compensation that could amount to £100M.


Now I don’t know what exactly happened that caused such a severe disruption to service and I am sure that BA will urgently be looking at their contingency plans and disaster recovery protocols. 


But even without full knowledge of the facts, as a casual observer watching the news and seeing the posts on social media, clearly there has been a massive fail on BA’s part in 2 connected key areas:


  1. Communication. It is very clear that passengers were not kept suitably informed. They didn’t know flights were being cancelled, they weren’t being told what steps to take if they were booked onto a BA flight. Chaos has ensued at the airports with queue’s and confusion reigning.

  2. Customer care seems to have been neglected. These people that have spent up to 3 days ‘stuck’ at an airport are paying customers. They deserve better.

This all seems to be compounded by BA staff and ground staff at the airports’ having little knowledge of what was going on and therefore unable to provide suitable assistance and guidance to customers.


Think of the cost to BA – on top of the compensation bill - £100M is being quoted at the time of writing – what is the long-term damage?  The poor way BA handled the situation has massively damaged their reputation and credibility. This will result in lost bookings and income – one headline over the weekend was “Family vows to boycott BA”. They are a publicly quoted company, their share price will most probably take a hit. People will think twice about booking with BA.


What has this got to do with law firms?

The lessons that all businesses need to learn from this BA fail is the importance of looking after your customers and effective communications - keeping clients informed and up to date.  


The reputation aspect of this debacle is likely to have the longest lasting consequences. Sometimes things go wrong. How you look after a client and communicate to those affected at such times is crucial.


The equivalent for a law firm client is such things as failing to keep a client informed about the progress of a matter, the costs incurred or taking a few days to deal with a matter. These things cause frustration, frustration leads to discontent, discontent leads to lost clients and reputation damage.

It doesn’t need to be a big IT glitch that causes an unhappy client. It’s the smallest things that can make a difference.


Keep in touch with your clients and remember it is they who matter most in your business. 


About the author.

Clare Fanner is a legal sector strategic marketing and business development specialist and the fo


under of Find Get Grow. Find Get Grow helps law firms to find, get and grow clients by doing 'better' marketing and business development.

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