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Paris Crisis Management Case Study: Safety During a Crisis

Accounting for Travelers in a Critical Time

In November 2015, Paris was targeted by a series of terrorist attacks that initiated a state of emergency and created substantial impact in France, across Europe, and the globe. And as a Travel Management Company (TMC), our customers—and their travelers—always come first.  Part of our mission is to provide exceptional traveler care and we instinctively knew we had to make sure our customer’s travelers were safe.

Crisis management is a critical component to our front line servicing. An event as impactful as the Paris attacks means we have to be more than prepared to help our customers.

What we do during a crisis
We have emergency processes in place to instantly respond to a crisis. Our Global Service Delivery organization increases staffing levels in all regions to handle the large volume of inquiries. All trained customer service team members that can help, do, including working extra hours to handle all of the inquiries. Additionally, we send our customers crisis messages that detail the level of impact it has on travel plans and employee safety.

The next day
On November 14, our customer servicing teams put in long hours to provide services to travelers impacted by the attacks. When customers called, our teams located travelers and provided guidance on their welfare and safety. Our travel counselors, as well as our Joint Ventures and Travel Partner Network helped accommodate travelers around the clock.

Getting travelers home
Our crisis management didn’t end after that weekend. We made sure customers who had travelers with future plans in Paris were adequately prepared. Since there was a travel ban in Paris, we worked with travelers and adjusted their itineraries to alternate airports or other means of transportation. We had to work with numerous cancellations, but in the end, we still made sure travelers got to where they needed to be – even faster than planned.

One of our large, long-standing customers reached out to us, expressing their gratitude. “I want to send you a quick email to express our thanks for your incredible support over the past few days…It is especially in times like this that we truly support how American Express GBT steps up, mobilizes your staff and is relentless in ensuring our employees and their families are contacted and communicated with. Please ensure to share our thank you to all your teams and colleagues. Many would argue they are doing what's needed, but that doesn't make it any less special. Thanks much for the partnership and support.”

Our customer service team had commendable drive in assisting our customers to deliver an enhanced duty of care to their travelers. “Our staff went beyond just doing their job,” said Daniel Carceles, American Express GBT’s Vice President, Head of Service Delivery in France. “We had a substantial amount of emails and calls to answer and everyone working that weekend worked tirelessly to make sure every customer issue was addressed and resolved.”

  • All travelers were accounted for and either returned home safely or continued their travel safely
  • Managed over 20,000¹ calls globally. In Europe, inquiries increased by 174%¹
  • 130%¹ additional hours worked to alleviate customer issues

¹Source: American Express Global Business Travel reporting