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SimpliFlying Featured - 'Social' Services

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Airline Business Sept 2012 - Airlines that have innovated customer service though online media have elevated passenger expectations to a level that sets a high standard for others to follow, according to Shashank Nigram of SimpliFlying.

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SimpliFlying Featured - 'Social' Services

  1. 1. FORUM FEEDBACK SOCIAL SERVICES Airlines that have innovated customer service though online media have elevated passenger expectations to a level that sets a high standard for others to follow, according to Shashank Nigram of SimpliFlying Late last year a friend response before reaching resolution. had a bad experience Several airlines are now innovating in with Delta Air Lines this space. during his honeymoon. What can you learn from the airlines A number of things went wrong – from that provide the best customer service being assigned a seat away from his on social media? new bride, to the couple being ignored Share local knowledge and provide by flight attendants. When he called personal attention the customer service hotline he was One of the most innovative tools being put on hold for a long time and trans- used by Ireland’s CityJet is its Twitter ferred from one department to another. concierge. The programme aims to pro- In the end, his concerns were hardly vide personalised recommendations to addressed by Delta staff. travellers who request them. This Frustrated, he blogged about his helps drive their goals in engagement, encounter with Delta and dropped me a customer service and revenue. Goals of note asking for help. I suggested he social customer service programmes tweet to @Deltaassist. Much to his sur- need to translate back to the core met- prise, he received a reply on Twitter “Customers expect rics of the brand and marketing. within 10min, saying Delta was looking Prepare to scale into his case. Within 24 hours, he was brands to respond on KLM and Delta Air Lines have more given a $100 voucher for the inconven- social media” than 30 people dedicated to providing ience he suffered during his flight. SHASHANK NIGAM customer service through social media. Some might claim this to be a one- Chief executive, SimpliFlying That sort of commitment is often off case but thanks to social media real- needed because once you set the cus- time customer service is coming of age answers more easily, especially for tomers’ expectations that they can reach in the airline industry. queries that are not time sensitive. you online, that is the medium they Social media benchmarking com- The responsive, interactive and prefer – especially when something pany Unimetric.com says that if you open nature of social media helps cus- goes wrong. That is when all these send a tweet to Delta Air Lines, you are tomers feel comfortable to ask more resources come in handy. Of course, if likely to get a reply within 11min, while questions and get all doubts cleared – you are unable to dedicate such if you tweet JetBlue with a problem, it not always possible on the phone. The resources, you might want to work with will address it within 17min. Also, airline can understand better what the a social media call-centre provider such KLM will reply within an hour and Vir- most worrying issues for customers are as InterGlobe Technologies. gin America is known to solve passen- and how its service can be improved. Be where you are needed gers’ problems in-flight while they are Apart from the undeniable benefits Delta was one of the first airlines to dedi- connected to the internet at 35,000ft. social media provides, customers now cate resources to social media, recognis- Through social media, airline cus- expect most brands to respond to them ing the importance of acknowledgement tomer service has become real-time on social media, an almost equally and resolution. The need to give its and customers expect answers around compelling reason for airlines to have customers what they want led to a guar- the clock. In fact, travel social media social media customer service initia- anteed reply within 10min on Twitter, company Eezeer says 71.4% of con- tives. As seen in the case of the Royal plus a dedicated social sumer tweets to airlines are customer- Brunei Airlines emergency landing of media customer service service-related. The growth of calls to flight BI098 in April this year, the inter- and support in Spanish customer service centres is projected to net and social media are unmatched in and Portuguese. decline this year, with social conversa- providing speedy information, espe- tion numbers occasionally equalling cially in times of crisis. Shashank Nigam is CEO at SimpliFlying, a phone calls. Consumers are often pleased to brand strategy firm helping airlines and Read about how airports engage with travellers through social social media is more First and foremost, this is because receive acknowledgement, even if the media. Find out more about its strategy than just a tool for customers no longer have to go through resolution is not immediate. Hence, consulting and training services at SimpliFlying. marketing: the hassle of holding on the phone to the key to success in customer service com, on Twitter: @SimpliFlying, or email flightglobal.com/ customer services and expect to get via social media lies in a quick wannalearnmore@SimpliFlying.com socialmedia 60 | Airline Business | September 2012 flightglobal.com/abABU_240812_060 60 16/8/12 17:56:48