If you are in the business of travel – from airline, cruise ship, car rental company, tour operator to train line – being able to provide up to the minute information through your customers’ preferred channels is proving to be a game changer.
Helping customers happily on their way becomes so much easier with the proper use of social media.
In Headstream’s 2013 Social Brands 100 Report, the travel industry dominated the Top 10 list of most socially devoted brands. The study looked at brands’ consistency in their adoption of social media and their commitment to customer service, with the travel industry trumping the likes of retail and entertainment in the top 10.
With the growth of mobile, more and more customers are turning to social streams for real-time information affecting their travels. Customer service on the go is a necessity for today’s consumers, and is driving demand for Social Customer Service offerings from travel providers across the world.
Choosing social as a channel for better customer information brings you benefits too. Not only can you broadcast updates faster to a wider audience, you can also provide speedy one-to-one customer support for individuals’ issues and queries.
Four travel superstars made it into the Top 10 list from Headstream’s report - American Airlines, Lufthansa, Thomson Holidays, and Thomas Cook UK. If you are a travel provider and yet to implement Social Customer Service, what are you waiting for?
Read these 5 rules of thumb for emulating these leaders to build a successful social customer service program.
1. Push social media as a service channel - Encourage customers to turn to Twitter for your customer service team Sending out simple tweets to let people know you are online and ready to help is extremely effective. British train company Greater Anglia sends a tweet every morning and for each shift change, signed with that representative’s initials for a personal touch.
2. Actively share information - Be sure to proactively update customers with the latest service information, this way you will be able to reduce numbers of repetitive tweets coming through about the same issues, saving both you and your customer’s time.
3. Respond instantly - Your customer turn to social media because it’s fast. Calling your support line is a hassle and email has a notoriously long response time. Be sure to be as fast as they are and respond to the most important service issues right away. Speed is especially important for travel providers because of their customers’ desperate need for information on the go. Leaders in this space aim to respond to service issues within 10-15 minutes.
4. Listen for new problems - Social media isn’t just a great platform for you to update your customers, but for them to update you. Twitter is the first place for many different kinds of news to to be shared, and service issues and disruption are no exception. Your many customers on the ground might be able to shed light on a problem more quickly than your staff. Connect social customer service into the parts of your business who can investigate and fix problems for a faster resolution.
5. Don’t turn a blind eye – Customers can be highly frustrated when they vent about a disrupted journey, and these vents can be highly damaging to your reputation when they pick up media momentum. If you’re yet to establish a social presence, or start responding to customers on Twitter, the conversation will carry on without you. Be prepared with a crisis response plan to avoid a Ryanair Fake Facebook accountdebacle, or a ‘United breaks guitars’ sensation.