How-to Guide

6 Ways to Deliver Exceptional Airline Customer Service

"Marketing needs to collaborate with customer service both to leverage their learnings and to provide a cohesive experience for customers, instead of building yet another siloed experience." – Forrester

Whether customers prefer to reach out through Twitter DMs, mobile messaging, or an online community, every interaction should be seamless.

Brands have a tendency to put social into its own departmental silo, with disastrous effects. On the operational side, silos reduce efficiency, waste resources, and hurt productivity. Even worse, they impact customers by preventing brands from providing consistent service at every touchpoint in the consumer’s buying journey. Between ads, social platforms, websites, and blogs, the path to purchase has become increasingly fragmented, but customers still expect consistency from brands. This is not easy when, on average, brands have 55 active social media accounts managed by 45 employees.1 So how does a brand manage multiple social media accounts across different departments without creating a disjointed digital customer experience? Here’s how:

1. Start collaborating.

A closer bond between marketing and customer service is critical for success. According to Forrester, collaboration is required to leverage learnings and to provide a cohesive digital experience for customers.2 But collaboration shouldn’t end there. When there is an open dialogue between customer service and all departments, both the customer and the company win. KLM understands the importance of customer feedback for product and service innovations. When an employee noticed that a lot of people were asking about social payments, that person reached out directly to KLM’s IT team to see if it was feasible. The result? A new social payments tool which now takes in over 4 million euros a year in sales.3


2. Leverage team collaboration tools.

Choose technology that brings together marketing, customer service, and other parts of the organization. Manage integrated campaigns with the same calendar of events; share customer profiles, social posts, emails, and digital tactics; and execute better experiences together.


3. Don’t make customers repeat themselves.

Customers do not want to repeat their issue or personal information, such as their confirmation or frequent flyer number, over and over every time they’re handed off to a new agent or department. The key to providing personalized attention is through the use of case ownership. This requires a social media management tool that integrates with a CRM as well as maintains detailed customer histories and assigns cases rather than posts. This setup ensures that when agents have to pass along a customer, that customer’s information is readily accessible by the next agent.


4. Tap into expertise.

When a frontline team has the ability, via a social media monitoring tool, to share customer conversations across an organization and pull in the right resources quickly and efficiently, they will be able to deliver high-quality customer experiences. By tapping into subject matter experts across an organization to assist with issues, agents can provide more complete responses in less time, ultimately driving higher satisfaction ratings.


5. Give up control.

Breaking free from silos also applies to social media platforms. Customers are in control of where communications happen, and they expect to be served in the digital channel of their choice.4 Whether they prefer to reach out through Twitter DMs, mobile messaging, or an online community, every interaction should be seamless. Onboard a JetBlue Airways flight, instead of venting to the flight crew, a customer tweeted @JetBlue that his TV wasn’t working. The digital customer service team responded within minutes and attempted to troubleshoot the problem. When it couldn’t be fixed, they offered the customer a credit for the malfunction.5 Had they gone a step further, JetBlue Airways could have made a good experience even better by working with the flight crew behind the scenes to coordinate a seat change for the angry customer.


6. Share successes and failures.

Everyone in the organization, regardless of department, should be striving towards the same customer care goals. Instead of getting bogged down in mountains of data and losing sight of how to measure success, bring social marketing and customer experience analytics together in a real-time dashboard that can be accessed by everyone from the customer care agent to the CEO.


The Bottom Line:

Avoid disjointed airline customer experiences by fostering collaboration between social care agents and marketing through technology. For more on how to provide the best airline customer service on social, download The Social Media Technology Checklist for Airlines.


1 The Forrester Wave™: Social Relationship Platforms, Q2 2015

2 Forrester, The Business Impact of Customer Experience, 2014

3 Econsultancy - "KLM: We make €25m per year from social media"

4 Forbes - "The Evolution Of Customer Service"

5 Brafton - "Turn Negative Feedback Into a Social Media Customer Service Win"

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