21 Feb Example of Twitter Making a Difference!
“Hurricane Irene: which airlines were caught out?
Following a natural disaster, we usually comment on the cost to airlines and airports. This time we’ve spotted a report that measures the impact on customers – unsurprisingly, it is no less damaging to them.
According to StellaService, a company that rates customer service, American Airlines’ customers had to wait an average of one hour, 32 minutes for their calls to be answered during or just before the hurricane, and those who made enquiries by Twitter were ignored completely.
Customers of Delta Air Lines were only a little less frustrated at being on hold for 34 minutes, though Delta (along with Frontier Airlines) scored top for responding to all of its Tweets within an average of 14 seconds. Top of the list for phone call response times was US Airways at two minutes, 38 seconds; Southwest at eight minutes, 10 seconds; and Continental at eight minutes, 15 seconds.
Co-founder and CEO of StellaService Jordy Leiser wrote on his website: “Considering the major challenges in reaching a customer service agent over the phone and the conversational nature of Twitter as a channel for customer support, it was great to see these airlines use Twitter so effectively … Delta, Frontier and JetBlue proved their social media savviness.” Delta’s agents, it noted, included their initials on each Tweet meaning customers could request them by phone if needed.
Notably, those least responsive to their customers were most responsive to the survey. American Airlines countered publicly: “We make responding to and informing our customers – whether through social or other traditional direct channels – our highest priority … Of the 78 Tweets directed to us from Thursday [August 25] through Sunday [August 28], a significant number of which did not request action, we responded to 46 Tweets either publicly or privately.” It claimed that the data was “skewed” due to an “insufficient sample size” – that being eight calls and a dozen Tweets to each airline. It claimed that it handled 100,000 on Friday (August 26) and customers were kept waiting an average of 21 minutes.
Of the 12,000 flights cancelled due to Irene, American had more than its fair share yet it surely would have benefitted had it been as responsive prior to the event as it was after. Customer feedback – whether made public or not – is just one of the many shockwaves that hit airlines after such disasters, and with social media gaining force airlines must respond immediately.”
Acting Editor, Airline Fleet Management