AirAsia takes customer service to social media with AskAirAsia

We’ve all seen how @DeltaAssist is helping travelers out on Twitter, and now on Facebook too. Then we learnt that 93.8% of all tweets to airlines in March 2011 were about customer service issues [see infographic]. Seeing these trends, it was only a matter of time before we saw more customer service functions go social. And the latest airline to make this move is AirAsia.

Airline Customer Service on Facebook and Twitter

AirAsia, which is already the airline that replies to the highest percentage of tweets in the world (>40%), has created an AskAirAsia account on Twitter, and also a “tab” on Facebook. They’ve taken a dig at travelers’ frustrations with the call-center and asked them to direct questions to the CEO, Tony Fernandes (though the photo looks a few years old!). Quite a neat way to connect with the customers – or “guest” as they call them on AirAsia.

On Twitter, you can simply tweet a question and expect a quick reply during Malaysia working hours. What will be interesting to note is that the AskAirAsia twitter account doesn’t reply to any issues publicly – every single one of them is handled using Direct Messages (DMs).

This is an intriguing trend. On one hand, the airline is obviously respecting the privacy of their guests’ issues, and avoiding the public sharing of negative comments, while on the other hand, if there is a passenger with a problem at the gate, in all likelyhood 150+ other passengers are affected by the same problem. And Twitter comes in handy at that point to calm the nerves of many such people – an aspect AskAirAsia might miss out by strictly using DMs.

Nevertheless, great effort by the AirAsia team – and I know that the impetus comes right from the top from the likes of Azran and Tony, and is executed very well by Karen and team. Hope other airlines are watching and learning!

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 5 comments
  • CCAirways
    Reply

    Shashank: The volumes alone don’t tell the story if this is real customer service. You need to follow on with an analysis of how many of the issues were actually solved trough twitter or simply passed on to another channel such as the FAQ website.

    • Shashank Nigam
      Reply

      Good point Bruce – intelligent comment, as always. I think these are early times, and as more airlines jump the bandwagon, I think we’ll get into deeper metrics.

  • Allplane
    Reply

    Replying by DM also forces people to follow the airline, which is a sure way to increase twitter follower numbers…

    • Shashank Nigam
      Reply

      Agreed, though, I’m skeptical about airlines just feeling happy about the
      number of followers they have. They still have no clue who’s flown them
      before, or who’s a top-tier frequent flier amongst the followers/fans.
      That’s where the true value lies!

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  • […] the best to complaints on social media. AskAirAsia replies to the highest percentage of tweets (more than 40 percent). A tab on the company Facebook page allows people to ask questions if they are frustrated […]

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