This week, an angry British Airways passenger took it upon himself to fight back against the poor customer service he received by purchasing a promoted tweet.
Brand managers are no doubt starting to ask themselves, what is our policy to deal with that?
Disgruntled and somewhat entrepreneurial-thinking BA customer, Hassan Syed purchased the premium tweet to complain publically after he received poor customer service when his father’s luggage went missing on a BA flight from Chicago to Paris, writing:
“Don’t fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous”.
While it isn’t public knowledge how much the promoted tweet might have cost Syed, suggestions are that it could have been in the region of $1,000.
Even more shocking however might be that it took BA eight hours to respond, stating that its helpline is open 9-5pm, in which time it was seen by over 76,000 users.
It’s not new news that increasingly, customers are turning to social media as a method of gaining customer service, or making a complaint to a brand.
In fact, one-third of British customers complain on social media.
What this does highlight though, is the importance of an ever-evolving CRM strategy in social media.
Users are only going to demand more real-time and more accurate responses.
Competitors and unhappy customers can sabotage at any time, and community managers working regular office hours, just won’t cut it.
So not only will brands have to ensure adequate resource is allocated to manage the channels around the clock, but also that they are effectively trained and trusted to deal with incidents appropriately when a senior colleague isn’t necessarily around to advise (because it’s 2am on a Sunday morning, for example).
Or does it mean that working evenings and weekends (that most of us in digital have done for years anyway) is just accepted as part of the job description?
The implications on team dynamics, HR, brand management, and remuneration to mention a few are enormous.
It will be interesting to see if this incident leads to a response from BA to update its approach, and also if others fall victim to this method of brand detraction.