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Southwest Airlines - Extraordinary Social Customer Relations

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Southwest surely is a company that has its values and knows how to do the right thing. When a Marketing Campaign turned out to become a Customer Service disaster, throwing call centers deep under water, the Airline company used Social Media to offer personal responses to users, succeeding in retaining and even gaining followers. They also refunded tickets and any inconveniences that the disaster caused.

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Southwest Airlines - Extraordinary Social Customer Relations

  1. 1. Southwest Airlines Extraordinary Social Customer Relations
  2. 2. Southwest Airlines  Engagement Volume on Facebook in 2012 Southwest seemed to be doing pretty well and far ahead of most of the competitor airlines. The question is, why? 1
  3. 3. Content Reflecting Core Values  Charity Southwest Airline’s Medical Transport Grant Program helped little Cameron, age 6, get the treatment he needed to be the happy little boy you see here. 2
  4. 4. Content Reflecting Core Values  Patriotism Southwest Airlines provide benefits for veterans/military travelers along with constant posts of appreciation for the troops and recognition with specific stories, including a country music concert in the air, literally, for a very surprised veteran 3
  5. 5. Content Reflecting Core Values  LUV Inspired by their NYSE ticker symbol and their headquarters at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, the Airline was able to pay tribute by taking this widely used ticker symbol as their own. Since, they’ve launched campaign promotions like “12 Days of LUV” and slogans like “Labor of LUV Day” for Labor Day and “LUVing our Employees, LUVing our Communities”. As expected, fans were more than excited to spread the LUV! 4
  6. 6. Positive Comments on Facebook Compared to other Airlines, Southwest seem to have improved the Percent of Positive Comments on Facebook from 2011 to 2012 the most, shooting up by 7%: What happened? 5
  7. 7. Southwest’s Approach to CRM on Social Media VS. 2011  Response . vs. 2012  Response – Rarely – Frequently – Random – Handle Privately – Lacking – Send Press releases Less LUV in the proverbial air Informing and engaging with followers 6
  8. 8. The Downside of a Successful Airline Campaign In 2012, Southwest offered customers a 50% discount on flights with a promotional code after they reached the 3 million Facebook like record. However… the booking site very quickly overloaded and caused a booking and customer service disaster. What did Southwest do to handle the disaster? 7
  9. 9. Using Social Media to Handle a Crisis  Detailed Facebook update, mentioning: – “all hands on deck” to assure customers that everyone is working hard to fix the problem ASAP – they are “proactively” initiating refunds – customers who had their flights unnecessarily canceled had their itineraries restored with the original fare – the airline reimbursed all overdraft fees caused by duplicate charges – contact information for customers who still need to get in touch or send documentation – they will keep working with each customer on any issues still unsolved. 8
  10. 10. Using Social Media to Handle a Crisis  Southwest employees using their personal Twitter accounts to respond to customer issues one by one: “On Twitter, we’ve added a Southwest touch to the way we respond to our Customers by using personalized Twitter accounts for each of our Customer Relations Specialists: @southwestgabe, @SouthwestVerity, and @SouthwestNicole. Each account contains a short bio about the Specialist so our Customers know who they are communicating with and this allows Customers to feel more connected to our Employees.” Christi McNeil, an Emerging Media Specialist and Spokesperson for Southwest Airlines 9
  11. 11. Key Takeaway Southwest surely is a company that has its values and knows how to do the right thing. When a Marketing Campaign turned out to become a Customer Service disaster, throwing call centers deep under water, the Airline company used Social Media to offer personal responses to users, succeeding in retaining and even gaining followers. They also refunded tickets and any inconveniences that the disaster caused. That’s what we call Extraordinary Social Customer Relations! 10
  12. 12. HOOSH Technology SA Viale Cassarate 6 6900 Lugano Switzerland www.hoosh.com

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