Airline Customer Service is Top Priority on Social Media – SimpliFlying Study

Social media teams are now expected to drive a greater number of business goals, each of which is significant and sophisticated in its own right.

In a recent survey that SimpliFlying had conducted with 166 executives from 78 airlines worldwide, we could see that the use of social media by airlines has matured tremendously over the past couple of years. Social media teams are now expected to drive a greater number of business goals, each of which is significant and sophisticated in its own right. In the past, driving brand awareness was considered enough. However, the focus has now shifted to core business goals such as revenues, loyalty and customer service.

Increased focus on airline business goals

The outlook survey 2015-16 reveals the increased focus on core business goals.

  • Airline Customer Service: In last year’s survey, customer service finished 15% behind brand awareness as the top focus of airlines. This year, however, customer service has emerged as the top priority for airlines. This is a clear indication that social media is more than just a marketing tool now. Airlines realise the importance of two-way communication in the age of the connected traveler, and the impact on brand good airline social customer service can have.
  • Driving Ancillary Revenues: The biggest jump has been in driving ancillary revenues. In 2014-15 only 17% of the airline executives listed it as one of the top three priorities. In 2015-16 this number jumped to 39%, register- ing a 129% rise in preference.
  • Driving Loyalty: The focus on driving loyalty this year is a sign of social media coming of age. 71% of airline executives now understand that driving loyalty using social media is a top priority. This number is up by 54% from 2014-15. This trend is most prominent in the Middle East where driving loyalty emerged as the top priority for airline executives.
Source: SimpliFlying Airline Social Media Outlook 2016

Source: SimpliFlying Airline Social Media Outlook 2016

 

Airlines leading social customer service

One of the best airlines currently leading the social customer service front is Virgin America – also winner of SimpliFlying Awards 2015. The first, and still the only U.S. airline to offer fleet-wide WiFi, Virgin America was an early pioneer of real-time customer service with the ability to listen, respond and build relationships with passengers even when they’re at 35,000 feet. Two other exemplary airlines include Southwest Airlines and Etihad Airways.

In the recent SimpliFlying Airline Marketing Innovation Lab (Las Vegas) attended by over 20 airlines including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand, there was resounding consensus among airlines about their plans towards making social customer service available 24/7.

Note: This article is taken from a section in the Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 report. To download the report, click here.


 

Exclusive Webinar for Airline Managers, January 2015

Coming up in January and February 2015, SimpliFlying will be conducting a series of webinars where we share key findings from Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 and other research, covering the topics:

  • Business goals and optimal team structures for airline social media
  • Key differences among airlines in different regions
  • How to benchmark and map social media performance to airline business goals (e.g. route development)

To sign up, please click on the sign-up button below or email Guen at guen@simpliflying.com. Kindly note this webinar is only for executives currently working at airline organisations.

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Download Full Report: Airline Social Media Outlook 2016

This article is taken from a section in the Airline Social Media Outlook 2016 report. To download the report, click here.

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Li Guen

Li Guen

Head of Communications and Marketing at SimpliFlying
Li Guen heads the communications and marketing functions at SimpliFlying where she drives corporate branding efforts and industry research initiatives. Prior to this, Li Guen was at Weber Shandwick working with clients including Rolls-Royce, Changi Airport Group and P&G. In her free time, Li Guen likes trekking mountains in Asia. You can tweet her at @SimpliGuen or email her at guen@simpliflying.com.
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