If your next flight doesn’t go as smooth as it should, tweet about it. The airlines are paying attention.
According to a new report from Conversocial, a firm that helps companies like Hyatt and Alaska Airlines handle customer service issues online, social media has become a critical method for customers to interact with airlines. The report says that 89 percent of airlines are making social customer service a top priority in 2016.
Social media is particularly effective if you’re flying an American carrier. Conversocial says North American airlines are more likely to respond and respond faster than European airlines do. The average response time from a North American airline is 1 hour and 5 minutes, but some airlines respond faster than others. Alaska Airlines responds the fastest, at an average of 2 minutes and 34 seconds, while Spirit Airlines is the slowest, at 5 hours and 48 minutes.
Complaining about a bad flight on social media is easy to do. But the platform you use and how you use it can have a big impact on the response you receive. You may get a better response if you follow these tips.
Use Twitter. There are dozens of social media networks you can use to contact the airlines, but the ones they seem to be paying most attention to and building infrastructure to support are Facebook and Twitter. Twitter conversations typically occur in real time across public channels, and airlines are quick to defuse customer anger in public spaces, so Twitter is the best option. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can post a complaint on an airline’s Facebook wall, but you may not get a response as quickly.
Google the airline. You may be tempted to quickly type @Alaska or @Southwest into a tweet, but your complaint won’t make it to the airlines. Their verified Twitter names are @AlaskaAir and @SouthwestAir, respectively. The best way to find an airline’s official presence online is to use Google to search for “AIRLINE NAME Twitter.”
Tweet publicly. To ensure that your tweet appears in public, you have to format it correctly. Don’t begin your tweet with “@Delta” because Twitter sends that as a direct message to the airline. Include “@Delta” in the middle or at the end of your tweet.
Keep your cool. While it might feel good to post a lengthy rant on social media about your lost luggage or your broken entertainment system, experts say calmer requests for help often lead to quicker responses. Stick to the facts and take emotion out of your message.
Be specific. The airlines probably won’t be of much help if you tweet something like, “My flight is delayed again.” You’ll need to include detailed information such as your flight number and point of departure if you want to get a useful response.
Identify yourself. Some customer service issues such as booking you on another flight or locating your lost luggage may require you to provide your name or other identifiable information. If you’re uncomfortable using your name on Twitter, at this point it’s OK to take the conversation to the private realm by sending a Direct Message to the airline.