By Marco Serusi

If twenty years ago one had asked an airline marketing executive about the dangers that a bad experience, passed on through word of mouth, could represent for the company’s image and brand he/she would have probably laughed. And with some degree of reason too!

After all, those were the good old days when, if one passenger had a bad experience he would tell his friends and family who may or may not have told a slightly distorted version of the story to their friends and family members… and the story would pretty much have ended there.

However, in the age of Twitter, Facebook and instant 24/7 global communication, the story doesn’t quite end there anymore. Even one annoyed passenger out of a whole planeload has the power to share his experience not only with his friends and family but also with millions of complete strangers who may in turn share it with a million others.  And this time the story does NOT end there.

Moreover, according to recent research, 25% of social media users expect a response within an hour and 6% expect something within 10 mins!

Time to start thinking about social customer service!

Unfortunately, only a handful of airlines and airport seem to have noticed this change, and even fewer have realized that an annoyed passenger could easily be turned into an happy one, as well as a brand advocate, who rather than venting his anger at a million strangers will praise the airline’s excellent customer service response.

There are a number of reasons why offering customer service through social media is an attractive option for both customers and airlines:

  1. Customers no longer have to go through the trouble of waiting on the phone (forget the irritating wait-tune) to reach customer-service executives.
  2. Being an “open” forum mostly, complaints and resolutions can be seen publicly. This can help a) reassure customers that the airline is serious about customer service; b) help create brand-advocates who can spread the word among their networks about a great customer service experience.
  3. The responsive, interactive and open nature of social media helps customers feel more comfortable with asking more questions and getting all their doubts cleared which might not always be possible through the phone. On the flip side, the airline can also understand better what exactly are the most common issues worrying customers and how their service can be improved.
  4. Apart from the benefits social media undeniably provides, customers now expect most brands to respond to them on social media, which is an almost equally compelling reason for airlines to have social media customer service initiatives anyway.
  5. The internet and social media are absolutely unmatched in providing speedy and latest information especially in times of crises.

In this Top 10 we have selected ten great examples (as well as 2 bonus ones) of companies that have gone out on a limb to offer customer service through social media, thereby making their customers very happy indeed. We hope you enjoy the case-studies.

Top 10 Social Media powered Customer Service initiatives by Airlines

Let us know what you think of this slide-deck. Did you enjoy reading the case-studies? Did you disagree with some examples? Want others included? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @simpliflying.


CATEGORISED UNDER: Customer Service, Engagement, Top 10

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