Consider a typical day in an airport. Think of the hordes of people, many of whom are trying to get to their vacation destinations as efficiently as possible. Now think of the employees in the airport, or rather, the ratio of employees to customers. There are likely to be thousands more passengers than customer service representatives available to speak with in person. This can make it difficult for individuals to get assistance with problems ranging from a simple question to a delayed flight and subsequent missed connection.
So what can airlines do to fix this problem? Place more customer service representatives in their airports? Not exactly. Instead, airports can employ the use of social media. Social networking sites such as Twitter allow consumers to quickly and easily get in touch with airline representatives so their specific questions can be answered without having to wait in long lines. However, focusing on simple and fast customer service, while important, is not enough to keep today’s consumers’ interest. The versatility of services that can be offered by a well-run social media networking account is a priceless asset to airlines.
Along with being a great tool for customer service, social media can also be of use to airlines who want to increase engagement with their brand. The main goal of social media use is to interact with consumers, who can be some companies’ most valued brand ambassadors. Increased engagement stems from interesting and relevant content; if airlines create and upload content that their audiences appreciate, there is a good chance they will share it with their friends, who will then make their own (hopefully favorable) decisions about the brand. Consumers are more likely to share those messages they relate to, rather than promotional messages that simply push sales. If airlines use successful content marketing strategies on social media, individuals will more likely be loyal to their brand.
Social media allows airlines to create meaningful and lasting relationships with consumers–relationships that may very well have started by a well-handled customer service interaction that cemented a positive image of the organization in an individual’s mind. Airlines that use social media to effectively respond to consumers, upload appealing videos and images, as well as creative and unique copy will keep customers engaged with their brand. Especially in the US, consumers have many options when it comes to choosing which airline to fly with; while price is often a determining factor, airports that dedicate resources to creating positive online interactions with individuals will be more successful.