Airlines Soar with Customers on Twitter

by Green Apple on August 19, 2010

A recent article on BloombergBusinessweek.com highlights yet another example of businesses using Twitter for customer service-the airline companies! JetBlue, Delta and Southwest Airlines have capitalized on the social media tool to offer their customers the best service possible. Mike Brice, a regular Delta flier, tweeted the airline’s customer service department and rebooked his missed flight. Southwest and JetBlue advocates have been able to voice their questions or complaints with the airlines without waiting in lines or on-hold.

Photo illustration courtesy of Flickr.com/Andrei Dimofte and Dana Harris

Photo illustration courtesy of Flickr.com/Andrei Dimofte and Dana Harris

This continuing trend could very much be a result of celebrity influence. In 2009, musician Dave Carroll used YouTube to post his horrible guitar crisis with United Airlines. Kevin Smith, actor and comedian, tarnished Southwest’s name last February after being bumped from a flight for his body weight. He bashed the airline repeatedly on Twitter for his 1.7 million followers gaining the attention of fans all over the world.

So what does this mean for competing airlines? Or for any company that depends greatly on customer service and feedback?

Brice gives Delta a few pointers in the Bloomberg article, saying “Having that immediate attention from Delta on Twitter is one of the reasons I select them.” He also complained that they don’t have anyone working the Twitter account on weekends, something airlines and service-oriented companies alike should keep in mind.

Essentially, people value responses that are quick, convenient and helpful. If they can tweet or post knowing they will get the same feedback without the traditional waiting time of lines and phone calls, they will. Keep your eyes open for forward-thinking companies incorporating social media into their business relations. It is very likely that the next time you have a qualm or compliment about your bank or favorite department store, you’ll be talking to them via tweet!

What do you think? Would you reschedule a flight via Twitter if you could? What do you think of customer service representatives being available right from your favorite social media site? Tell us some of your experiences with using Twitter, Facebook and other networking tools to get in touch with the companies you’ve used in the past.

Note:  This post was written by Green Apple.  She is a Square Martini Intern studying International Business and English at The University of San Diego.  She graciously assists the Square Martini Team with all things social media.

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