3 Ways Airline Companies Command Social Customer Service in 2014

By: Sofie De Beule

March 5, 2014

airline industry
business travelers
customer experience
customer service
response time
royal dutch airlines
virgin america
virgin atlantic

Social channels are a huge opportunity for airline companies in terms of word of mouth referrals. The impact is significant on the opinion of potential travelers searching for the next ultimate travel deal.

Customers nowadays only settle for quality service at a low cost. Therefore, airlines are constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ways to enhance overall customer experience. Social customer service really delivers on customer empowerment and connecting the brand to their customers.

Airline Companies Rely Heavily on Social Customer Service

The airline industry is one of the biggest socially devoted industries. Social plays such an important role in airlines’ daily operations by allowing brands to develop stronger bonds with travelers similar to human relationships.

The level of interactivity and the quality of social service (or care) are essential components of a successful social presence. They clearly describe the needs of a community and the importance of being able to rely on a company, especially in an industry that deals heavily in customer service.

Let’s have a look at how airline companies already commanded social customer service in 2014.

1. Virgin Atlantic Hands Out Google Glasses to Customer Service Staff

At the beginning of February, Virgin Atlantic started a six-week test using Google Glass and Sony’s SmartWatch 2 to provide more information to Upper Class passengers in the ever-busy London Heathrow airport. The program, designed to help the customer service staff, provides info to customers on items like flight information, the weather, and local events at their flight destinations.

Virgin Atlantic’s future plans are to provide an even better and more personalized service. If the test proves to be successful, the airline company will expand their fancy gear to other airports making it available for travelers with less pricey tickets. Virgin Atlantic really proves it’s all about customer experience and exploring new ways to differentiate themselves from competition.

 2. KLM Enables Social Payments Through Facebook & Twitter

KLM has mostly been on the forefront of all evolutions in social customer service in the airline industry. The Royal Dutch Airlines already enabled seat reservations or extra baggage arrangements available through social media. As of February, they make payments available through Facebook and Twitter, meeting the needs of customers who indicated they would be willing to pay through social.

KLM also dedicates a lot of their social efforts to response time. In December, they introduced a brilliant live Response Time display updating its Twitter background every five minutes with a new estimated “hold time” and a Response Time tab on Facebook. KLM clearly implements a revolutionary, risk-taking approach to social which inspires many brands to excel even more.

3. Virgin America Rolls Out New In-Flight Social Network

At the end of February, Virgin America started rolling out a new social network on all domestic flights. This new and exciting platform allows passengers to connect – high up in the air – via their LinkedIn connections with other passengers on specific flights, with fellow travelers at their destination, or on other in-air Virgin America flights.

The idea came from passengers, mostly business travelers, themselves. Their customers frequently requested the ability to connect with other in-flight or on destination travelers. While many travelers come up with brilliant ideas during flights, what better way than to pick the brains of fellow inspiring entrepreneurs? Virgin America obviously embodies the importance of ‘connectedness’.

Why do these airline companies take social customer service to the next level?

Unlike any other industry, airline companies really step it up their game, trying to meet every single customer expectation. The airline industry clearly makes a big effort to provide excellent customer service, which is not only available to the ones paying for the highest tickets, but also to every individual traveler. Convenience is really important, and feedback from customers is highly implemented to ensure a continuous, gratifying customer experience.

Want to learn more on how the airline industry manages their social media presence? Take a look at this Thomas Cook case study.