Airlines use social media to boost service

Complaints on Facebook and Twitter are being heard
Airlines are using social media more and more effectively to respond to customers’ needs. If you’re having a bad flight experience or are waiting at the airport for hours, the temptation is to take it out on Facebook or Twitter, but those complaints are being heard and responded to, a new study shows.
However, North American airlines are more responsive than carriers in Europe, the study by software firm Conversocial says, with nine in every ten airlines in North America responding to at least half of mentions targeting the company on social media.
“The approach is, ‘Really, how can we help? What is going on? Give us some information and let’s see what we can do to straighten this out’,” explains Lisa Goode, director of social business at Southwest. “Usually we can resolve it, help them, get them the information.”
Conversocial CEO Joshua March: “It has really become the natural way for the social mobile traveller to engage with an airline, and so everyone has recognised that, but there is a pretty wide disparity in terms of the actual performance that these airlines are really giving.”
Southwest and Alaska Airlines stand out. Alaska is fastest at reacting to social media mentions, with an average response time of about two-and-a half minutes. The average among North American airlines is just over one hour.
In many cases there is only so much social media teams can do, if a delay is for mechanical reasons for instance. But they can ease passengers’ frustration by giving them up-to-date information.
CNBC