Social networking has become extremely popular these days. With the introduction of fast internet connection on the mobile phones, many people are now able to access the social networking websites from the mobile devices. Instead of sending text messages to friends and relatives, people now prefer to update the statuses in Facebook or Twitter and comment on each other’s statuses.
Surprisingly, these websites have proved to be a boon for many companies which use them to market their products and receive feedback from their customers. With the increasing popularity of the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, more and more companies are using these websites as a platform either for their marketing or information purpose.
During last year’s ash cloud incident in Iceland, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines found the unique way of tweeting to update the passengers about the status of flights. While other airlines faced huge travel chaos with customers jamming the call centers and other traditional communication channels, KLM employed approximately 120 people who worked across the shifts for seven days to provide regular updates to the passengers on the flights which were cancelled/rescheduled, answer customer’s queries and accept the rebooking requests through the social networking sites. The airline was able to clear the backlog of passengers using this method.
This was revealed by the company CEO Peter Hartman during the Sita Air Transport IT Summit. He further added that the customer service through social web was so helpful that the company has decided to set up its own social media department. Today, the company has 23-member team which handle customer queries through Twitter and Facebook, apart from monitoring the interweb channels for receiving feedback from the customers.
Taking inspiration from KLM, other airlines have also started to use social networking effectively for their business. The social media networking found to be so effective that over 180 airlines are now using Twitter, posting at least 4.1 tweets a day. Just like KLM, other airlines like Delta Assist, JetBlue, Virgin America, Southwest Airlines have dedicated customer service desk which looks after the customer queries, complaints and their question for 7 days a week. JetBlue was, in fact one of the first airlines to sign up for Twitter way back in 2007 and presently has more than 1.6 million followers. Today, with the advancement in the technology, more and more airlines are finding the social media networks to be more useful for reaching out to their passengers. Qantas have used Bebo to mimimize the customer calls during typhoons.