Social media – For Better or For Worse in Customer Service?
The travel trade woke up late and more or less missed the social media train. For a long time it was (and is) an advertising platform for several suppliers and some tend to make it an extension of customer service. If you want to air your issues publicly it is up to you, but personally I prefer discussing any issue I have 1-on-1 over the phone or via email. In my humble opinion it is much more fair to give the supplier (no matter if it is travel related or not ) a fair chance to explain and rectify a situation, rather than airing it all over the interwebs immediately.
A member of the US Airways social media team obviously had enough recently and posted a very explicit image as response of what I deem as boredom and modern world complaints. If you are curious, please see the conversation at Buzzfeed (please do remember that we warned you). This is not the right response in anyway but Customer Service Departments are overloaded with nagging messages of various relevance and importance today. Therefore it is good to realize that a message that takes 15 seconds to type and send usually takes 2 minutes to respond to. Trust me on this, because I have spent lots of time in Customer Service.
Enough complaints about customers nagging in social media, it is equally important for suppliers to provide good, solid answers and not just clichés. I know it is a fine line to walk, but at least put some effort into it when you are answering serious messages in social media. That way the situation might stabilize.
Another take on this is how normal HR policies are put askew or even set aside for what happens in social media. Simplyflying has thoughts about the above mentioned US Airways incident and another where passengers has filmed Air Canada staff throwing around checked luggage.
This is my 2 cents. Maybe it is not even worth that, but please remember to be nice no mater if you are on customer or supplier side. You both need each other!
Do you have thoughts about social media and the travel industry? Please let me know on Twitter, on Facebook or in the comments below.