When a plane is grounded or there are delays, customers sometimes vent their fury on Twitter. Airline companies recognize this reality and are getting wise to this sort of oblique customer service request. According to Ragy Thomas, CEO of social media management company Sprinklr, social media is “unrivaled in its efficiency” when it comes to customer service.
Marybeth Cadotte was worried her attempt to fly from out from Pittsburgh was going to fail because of mechanical problems with the plane, according to the Washington Post. She tweeted United from the in-flight WiFi, and when she returned to the airport, she realized that she didn’t have to wait in line, or call a rep. United had already given her a new itinerary because their social media customer service team had moved efficiently.
United has been maintaining a team of customer service reps on social media for two years now, after weathering the disasters of the Icelandic volcano that shut down European airspace in 2010. Their team receives about 25,000 communications per week, and that doubles during severe weather.
“[Social media] allows travelers in transit to get in touch with their airline in a much easier way. More importantly, social media has provided customers with a magnified voice that can have a huge impact on an airline’s reputation,” Raymond Kollau, founder of Airlinetrends.com, told The Washington Post.
As more customers realize the value of taking complaints to social networks, companies need to dedicate more resources to tackling the issue. Indeed, customers practically demand a response on social networks these days. And with the 44 percent increase in customer service requests on Twitter, companies seem to have a hard time keeping up.