Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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January 4, 2014

Engaging Brands through Social Media: My experience w/ US Airways

It’s interesting to see how social media has changed how customers engage with brands.  One of the industries that does a lot of customer relations via social media is the airline companies. To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see some of the conversations some customers and passengers have with the airlines, especially on Twitter.

However, I want to share with you a positive story I had yesterday with US Airways. I was traveling back to Louisville from my Christmas holiday out in California with my family. Of course, along with travel concerns with the storm on the East Coast, I had a pretty tight connection with all of the delays we were experiencing.

I was on my flight from Phoenix to Charlotte and got on to the wifi in the air (what a wonderful feature) and decided to contact US Airways via Twitter to see if they could help me out with my flight.  I went on Twitter to see their timeline and followed some of the conversations – and I knew they were already following me and I was following them, so I decided to contact them with a DM.

The result of the DM? A very positive, respective, and personal conversation with the US Airways social media representative named KP. The first thing I saw was that I was addressed as Dr. Freberg – which has never happened to me for a brand. I was like – wow! They really looked at my profile and respected my position. So, that was a plus. However, I was able to go back and forth with KP and  here was part of our exchange on Twitter:

I laughed when I saw the last exchange – since I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and have posted on Twitter for my #Freberg13 class several times using this phrase (especially for their final presentations).  I did end up making my Louisville flight and let US Airways know – which they sent me back a nice update.

So, what did I learn from this experience from a social media customer relations perspective? Here were some tips I wanted to share with you all:

  • Take a moment and think before you post. Many customers (especially those who are flying) forget that there are people behind the screen answering your tweets, updates, and questions on social media.
  • Be calm and you will be able to carry on your travel: Consider also what your own followers and community will think if they see your negative post to the brand online – they may think you are like this all the time? You want to be calm with the other person on the end of social media – think about how you would approach this person if this conversation was offline and you were talking to the professional.
  • [Positive] Emojis are your friend. In a situation like this, you want to bring positivity and a unique voice to your interactions so you are remembered. I love emojis and have used them a lot in social media – so happy faces were my friend in this case.
  • Everyone is going to contact publicly, so that is where you use DM: I wanted to go directly to the DM and ask for help that way. I provided US Airways with the information they needed for my flight ahead of  time so they didn’t need to ask me for this information, compared to what the other customers were not doing on social media.
  • Update via social media to thank them: I wanted to give US Airways a shoutout for their work and support with my travels. I did have to sprint through the Charlotte Airport (got my workout for sure!) but I did take a moment before my flight to Louisville to let them know. When I landed in KY, I found they had responded with enthusiasm and positivity.

In summary, my exchange with US Airways was very positive. It’s refreshing to have a brand who is engaged with responding to your comments and concerns in a timely manner. I know, especially in the airline industry, how much they are going through let alone what customers are saying about them on social media, but I would like to thank US Airways , the social media team for US Airways, and the US Airways representative KP for their support and help yesterday on my travels through social media. Thanks so much!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,
Karen

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