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Come Fly With Me: Does Using Low-Cost Airlines Mean You Must Sacrifice Service?

By Anna Drennan on Sep 7, 2012 3:39:00 PM

With airline prices constantly on the rise, customers are always looking for a good deal. But does low-cost need to be synonymous with poor service?

Airlines get dealt a lot of complaints, and social media presents no exception. We recently looked at how RyanAir neglects all forms of social customer service and what kind of effect that has on their business. Many people contend that choosing to fly with a low-cost airline means sacrificing any form of customer service, citing the “you get what you pay for” argument. But is this really the case? RyanAir aside, other low-cost airlines are choosing to deliver service to their customers through social media.

Looking at how four well-known low-cost airlines use Twitter, it seems that some companies are able to provide a low-cost flights while still delivering social customer service:

Southwest - Although they have had some crises in the past, Southwest actually receives a lot of positive tweets. While they could choose to simply let these slide, they still choose to thank their customers for their kind words.

Flybe - Another European airline, Flybe receives plenty of the questions and complaints you’d expect - relating to delays, baggage and terminals. Flybe make sure to answer all of their customers and if they cannot solve the issue, they put their customers in touch with someone who can.

JetBlue - The American airline has created a specific online personality. In fact, they even have a link to connect their customers to each member of their social media team. And this isn’t just a marketing gimmick; this team really does answer all questions and complaints sent their way.

EasyJet - The European airline receives a high volume of both complaints and queries. Recently, questions have been centered around the decision by EasyJet to start allocating seats. Despite the questions being repetitive, the airline still reaches out to every customer.

Hate site formed in response to RyanAir's poor service

Hate site formed in response to RyanAir's poor service

When we give our custom in any industry, what level of service can we expect, and how do you put a price on it? It seems that social communication might be changing standards. For some reason, low-cost airlines are moving away from the philosophy that good service is a paid extra. Why is this? Perhaps new social teams they have in place have a greater enthusiasm for a developing channel, or perhaps this reflects a realisation that social media has changed relationships between companies and customers forever.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Are companies today deciding that the low-cost, low-service model isn’t as viable as it once was?

Topics: Customer Service

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