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SimpliFlying Featured - intouch


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Airline Entertainment International, Sep 2012 - Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying, recommends that airlines “start by being pleasantly helpful and friendly where passengers are on social media and integrate customer service on these platforms.

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SimpliFlying Featured - intouch

  1. 1. The rise of social media has Survey, conducted by SITA and now in created the opportunity not its 14th year, stated that 93% of airlines only for airline marketing view investment in mobile services as ateams to reach consumers in new, top priority between now and 2015,engaging ways, but also for consumers and that 58% are planning majorto reach back. The question is whether projects. Nine out of 10 airlines alsoairlines are listening and responding. plan to invest in social media by 2015.As most experts will tell you, the secret Further, a recent study conductedto social media success comes from by the Chaddick Institute ofbeing a part of the conversation. Metropolitan Development, at the DePaul University in Chicago, revealed Airlines already that iPads, Kindles and Nooks accountrecognise the importance of mobile for 30% of all technology used in flight.communication. The Airline IT Trends Gogo research has found that 153
  2. 2. million passengers had access to the become immediately available forinternet while in flight in 2011. viewing by anyone. For example, a In other words, passengers are simple search on Twitter for a phraseincreasingly connected in flight and are such as ‘#flying’ yields a host ofable to communicate with friends, consumers actively talking about theirfamilies and airline staff at the airport flying experience. Ergo, an airline canand in the air. constantly monitor what passengers are praising or complaining about. Recognising the enormousness ofOne of the most prominent social that opportunity, Delta Airlinesmedia tools is Twitter. Its attractiveness launched a specialised customer servicelies in its real-time and public nature. team under the Twitter accountAs users tweet (send brief messages of @DeltaAssist. As passengers tweetfewer than 140 characters) the tweets about problems, the @DeltaAssist team e! oic ch the e lov
  3. 3. ARE YOU LISTENING? choice! the love fresponds, within an average of 11minutes, and begins resolving thesituation. Most importantly, the team isempowered to take immediate action. Pattie Simone, founder, interviewed AllisonAusband, vice president of reservationsales and customer care for Delta, lastyear. Ausband commented in theinterview, “So the channel [Twitter]really allows us to redirect them[passengers] and reset their travel whenthings do go wrong…As you think i was not tooabout Twitter being that customer happy with my lastsupport channel for us, it truly allows experience with themsomebody from Delta to be with themthroughout the whole travel ribbon.” Virgin America is also known for Meetresponding to comments on Twitter andmade by passengers in-flight. In fact seatVirgin runs marketing campaignsencouraging passengers to use Twitterwhile flying. Besides the obvious wordof mouth advertising those campaignsencourage, the ‘in the moment’communication allows Virgin to put afinger on the emotional pulse of flyers.
  4. 4. oice! the ch love Twitter and Facebook are obviousAlthough Facebook is the top social places to start, but many passengersnetwork in terms of site traffic, it does may choose a less popular service.not allow an airline to peek into For example, forum sites such aspassengers’ experiences as easily as act as oases for ardentother social media. To engage with the travellers, while users canairline, flyers must go to its Facebook meet fellow members at the airport orpage and leave a comment. Despite onboard. In order to reach the rightthat, Facebook is still an important tool demographic, airlines must spend timefor allowing conversations to naturally discovering which services theiroccur between people. passengers actively use. Some airlines have also created less Regardless of the site, Shashankconventional approaches to using social Nigam, CEO of airline social mediamedia to improve the flying experience. company SimpliFlying, recommendsFor example, programmes such as that airlines “start by being pleasantlyKLM’s Meet & Seat and Malaysia helpful and friendly where passengersAirlines’ MHBuddy give passengers the are on social media and integrateoption to select seats next to friends or customer service on these platforms.colleagues with whom they are Disruptions such as flight delays areconnected on Facebook or LinkedIn. not uncommon, so being helpful by One of the challenges with social initiating relevant updates to themedia is in discovering where passengers will make their experienceconversations are taking place online. more delightful.”
  5. 5. other hand, JetBlue and airBaltic use They aren’t open to the public,Operationally, using social media as a the integrated model, where staff from tweetable and shareable with the clickcustomer service tool represents a shift different departments are trained to of a mouse. Online customer service,for some airlines. Most airlines have perform social media functions.” by contrast, is public, on display.already adopted social programmes, SimpliFlying reported last summer However this double-edged sword alsobut as part of the corporate that airline social media team members allows airlines to receive recognitioncommunications department. Airlines respectively represented the following for compliments and expressions ofneed to invest in moving offline departments: 44% were corporate gratitude for a job well done.customer service teams and processes communications, 30% marketing, 13% Further, the mind-set to effectivelyto an online environment. That shift customer service, 9% e-commerce and lead social conversations is different tomeans investing in training and social 4% interactive. In his best-selling book the marketing views of years past. Withcustomer relationship management Good to Great, Jim Collins teaches the consumers empowered by social(CRM) resources such as Radian6 and importance of the right people on the platforms, airlines must earn trust andSimplify360, which allow the team to team. As social media is increasingly respect as a participant within alisten, measure and ultimately engage used as a customer service tool, expect community where a single post, tweet,better. to see more members of the team come video or comment can garner national Nigam adds, “In a brief study that from a customer service rather than a attention and rebuke.we did last year, there are two marketing background. “The moment that helped pushoperation models that the top airlines Culturally, using social media as a social media initiatives to the forefronton social media use. Virgin America customer service tool requires was the closure of European airspaceand WestJet use the dedicated model embracing a certain amount of loss of due to the Icelandic volcanic eruptionwhere staff are assigned to perform control. Offline customer service in 2010,” states Nigam. “This saw asolely social media functions. On the complaints are handled in private. marked change in the social media
  6. 6. landscape for the aviation industry.Suddenly, social media was important,relevant and worthwhile. No longerwas it just a channel for marketing; itwas an important engagement and real-time information dissemination tool tocustomers.” Thesocial revolution is no longer any suchthing. It has become a daily habit formany travellers. The only revolution isthe one occurring within the airlineindustry to embrace customer servicevia social media, make use of theavailable tools, and engage in theconversation. ice! cho the love