Social media gives airlines not only the ability to answer and resolve urgent customer service inquiries, but the power to completely revamp the travel experience. Using its custom-built Tracker tool, Conversocial analyzed the key metrics of the top 20 airlines’ performance over Twitter.
An overwhelming majority of airlines perceived Social Customer Service as being a priority in 2016. However, with today’s travelers having higher expectations and a lower resistance to brand change, customer satisfaction goes beyond simply responding to questions on social.
In this study, we measured:
Social channels have empowered customers by giving them a voice that amplifies their disappointment, frustration and even joy when they experience moments like a cancelled flight, lost baggage or a top-notch inflight experience.
Travellers want to feel emotionally connected to brands— in the same way as with a friend on Instagram or a family member on Facebook. Customers want airlines to insert humanity into service exchanges and personalize their experiences to make them as seamless as possible.
KLM clearly stands out as an industry leader in having the most responses to direct @mentions, but Lufthansa beats KLM in their speed to respond in Europe. Alaska Airlines takes first place in speed to respond globally with an impressive 2 minutes 34 seconds mean response time. Overall, North American carriers have a lower average response time of 1 hour and 5 minutes, compared to a higher European average response time of 3 hours and 40 minutes, and a higher industry average responsiveness of 24% versus 19%.
With a global industry average responsiveness of 21%, airlines show clear appreciation of the importance social plays in customer service. However, a few airlines are clearly taking this to the next level—@KLM (42%), @SouthwestAir (38%), @Delta (37%), @British_Airways (37%), @AmericanAir (33%), @JetBlue (28%), and @AlaskaAir (27%).
From these results, Alaska Airlines and Lufthansa have clearly adopted a “rapid response” strategy, with the majority of airlines following suit. There are, however, industry laggers, with Spirit Airlines responding within 5 hours and 48 minutes, and EasyJet in 16 hours and 50 minutes.
Jetblue outplays every other global airline by responding to every single customer message in under an hour, with Lufthansa and Alaska Airlines following suit, achieving almost the same results with 99.6% responses in under and hour. Airlines that consistently resolve customer issues in a timely manner are positioning themselves as reliable, mature social brands, and will see increases in their customer satisfaction scores as a result.
With it not being so long ago that travelers would take their complaints to a check-in desk or toll-free number for unresolved issues, the risks of a negative interaction with the customer were much lower. Now customers live out loud. They live tweet if their flight is delayed or post photos on Instagram of shoddy inflight conditions (especially if you have GoGo at your fingertips). The result being a truly “always on” social mobile flyer pre, post and inflight. To prepare to serve this new, empowered customer, click below:
*We used the Twitter Search API to find mentions (up to 2001 max) of each Twitter handle in July 2016. We then gathered and matched the replies to those mentions and calculated the time taken in each case, excluding the slowest 5% of tweets (which can otherwise disproportionately affect results).