Does negotiation have a place in crisis management? Many public relations experts would argue no. When a company is confronted with negative publicity, they are advised to reveal as little as possible and denounce their attackers claim. This advice ignores the fact that what an angry public wants is to be heard.
After stranding thousands of passengers in planes on the runway for up to nine hours over several days in February 2007, Jet Blue Airways said they were sorry for the delays and issued a customer bill of rights. In a press release, Jet Blue accepted responsibility and admitted it had made mistakes. The customer bill of rights was designed to ease the pain of future foul-ups and applied a monetary value to excessive customer waits to get off a plane.
Jet Blue still engaged in a public relations campaign to fix its image and retain its customers. But by including key negotiation strategies and acknowledging the angry public, they were able to focus on creating value for both sides.