Exploring online crisis communication management during service disruptions and its influence on customer satisfaction. A study of the Dublin public transport industry from the customer perspective

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Murphy, Lisa
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MBA in Project Management
Dublin Business School
This dissertation seeks to assess if the implementation of online crisis communication strategies in the public transport industry is an effective method of influencing customer satisfaction during a service disruption. It will be conducted from the customer viewpoint. The customers of Dublin’s public transport system behaviour has changed greatly over the last decade in particular their online behaviour, the evolution of how customers interact with services online has increased the need for all organisations to have online crisis communication strategies in place. As a result there lies a widespread belief that public transport providers need a change of strategy when communicating with their customers, strategies that shift away from marketing to the masses which is a traditional approach and historically used by transport service communication managers. This study aims to identify the type of online crisis management seen by customers, the evolution of crisis communication management during service disruptions and potentially identify online crisis management methods that could be used during future service disruptions to have a positive influence on the customer satisfaction. These objectives are then assessed through a quantitative analysis of 61 passengers of Dublin’s public transport systems. The results demonstrate the passenger awareness of online communications during service disruptions. They also show that it can lead to the customers feeling more valued, a positive change in attitude toward the transport service and the effect on their satisfaction levels. The final chapter of the dissertation draws conclusions, outlines the implications for communication managers and makes recommendations for future research.