How Virgin America Created an Influential and Passionate Brand Ambassador

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With more than 2.5 million Twitter followers, filmmaker Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) is almost as well known for his headaches with airlines as he is for his movies. The most notorious incident was when he was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in 2010 for allegedly being “too fat to fly.” Smith turned his embarrassment into comedy gold, magnifying the bad Pr for Southwest in media interviews and podcasts. he regularly live Tweets all of his customer service prob- lems, urging his cult fan base to join his fight for the average Joe. A few months after the Southwest incident, Smith had a last-minute boarding issue with Virgin America - and he missed his flight. As he had done with the other airline incidents, the filmmaker shared his complaints on Twitter.

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How Virgin America Created an Influential and Passionate Brand Ambassador

  1. 1. C O N F I DENT I AL + N O T F O R D I ST R I B UT I O NHow Virgin America Created an Influential and Passionate Brand Ambassador Objective: Customer Service/VIPs & Influencers Solution: Sprinklr Monitoring Dashboards and Workflow ProcessesThe StoryWith more than 2.5 million Twitter followers, filmmaker Kevin Smith(@thatkevinsmith) is almost as well known for his headaches withairlines as he is for his movies. The most notorious incident was whenhe was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in 2010 for allegedlybeing “too fat to fly.” Smith turned his embarrassment into comedygold, magnifying the bad PR for Southwest in media interviews andpodcasts. He regularly live Tweets all of his customer service prob-lems, urging his cult fan base to join his fight for the average Joe. Afew months after the Southwest incident, Smith had a last-minuteboarding issue with Virgin America - and he missed his flight. As hehad done with the other airline incidents, the filmmaker shared hiscomplaints on Twitter.What Happened? The Results• In a series of events documented on his “Silent Bob Speaks” blog,Kevin Smith, his wife and a friend sat in an airline VIP lounge up until10 minutes before takeoff of a Virgin America flight from New Yorkto Los Angeles. They had hired an airline-approved concierge serviceto handle their bags and get them access to the plane after everyoneelse had boarded. Smith wrote that an actor had suggested the ser-vice to avoid being rushed by fans.• The Smith party was not allowed on the plane after the conciergehad brought them there too late. Making matters worse, they wereseparated from their luggage.• The filmmaker made his complaints public on Twitter and his blog,stressing that the incident had also turned him off from the sisterVirgin Atlantic brand as well: “It doesn’t matter if you’ve got free wifion the plane and a kickass, in-flight movie selection. It all starts atthat check-in desk; and what started there today was the end of ourbusiness relationship.”• By setting up email alerts within Sprinklr as well as real-time moni-toring of specific keywords within the Twitter monitoring dashboard,Virgin America was able to engage with Smith when the momentwas right. Virgin immediately contacted Smith’s assistant by emailand sent an apology for any inconvenience before they even landed.Things were smoothed over while he was on the next flight to L.A.Here’s how Smith put it in a subsequent Tweet: “Unlike Southworst,@VirginAtlantic seems to care: lovely, apologetic email, full refund forflight, free tix offer – all before I’ve landed. I appreciate the gesture/effort.” (Smith meant to type @VirginAmerica, which was confirmed share with a colleagueduring the brand’s correspondence on Twitter).e n ab l i n g th e e n t e r p r is e to b e S ocia l @ S ca l eCONFIDENTIAL + NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION | © SPRINKLR, 2012
  2. 2. C O N F I DENT I AL + N O T F O R D I ST R I B UT I O NHow Virgin America Created an Influential and Passionate Brand Ambassador Objective: Customer Service/VIPs & Influencers Solution: Sprinklr Monitoring Dashboards and Workflow Processes• Smith has since become a brand advocate and has developed a friendship with Virgin founder Sir RichardBranson. In September 2012, he flew with Branson on a live “Instagram Your Virgin America Experience” pro-motion.• Virgin America uses Sprinklr’s workflow processes to keep Guest Relations and Operations teams in the loopto quickly resolve issues for all passengers—not just the Tweeting celebrities. Using a single platform for thesegroups to collaborate allows the teams to more efficiently get the latest information on weather delays andaircraft/airport issues to their guests. What You C an Le arn It’s About Technology + Related Services Social@Scale Technology: Natural Language Processing (“the Zengine”) enables real-time scoring of huge volumes of messages, identifying potential issues as soon as they arise. Social@Scale Customer Service & Feedback: Sprinklr helps brands route messages internally, manage workflows, and collaborate across departments while maintaining consistency and timeliness. Social@Scale Audience: The platform identifies audience members who require routing for notification or escalation based on influence. Creates custom Profile Tags and automated rules to detect incoming messages from VIP/Influencers and assign them to specific team members and/or queues. Kevin Smith flies First Class with Virgin America founder Sir Richard Branson (Source: Virgin America/Instagram) share with a colleaguee n ab l i n g th e e n t e r p r is e to b e S ocia l @ S ca l eCONFIDENTIAL + NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION | © SPRINKLR, 2012

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