Airlines have long used Twitter and other social media to provide a customer service channel to their customers. Every month Twitter users send over 100,000 questions, complaints, and comments to major US airlines.
Airports on the other hand haven't been so quick. You'll find airports on Twitter and other social media but very few are using it as a true customer service channel. For most this is done by staff or volunteers in the terminal or on the phone. Responses over social tend to be ad-hoc. To really meet the full breadth of customer needs are airports missing an opportunity by not embracing online customer service channels?

The appeal for consumers is the near-instantaneous nature in which they get a response from companies using social. They don't need to write a long-winded email and hope for a reply with 14 working days. They tweet a 140 character question or concern and the company responds (the great ones within minutes). It's the often public nature of social media that encourages companies to respond thoughtfully and when the details become sensitive, switching to a private message is simple.

Customer service automation through social media bots is also on the rise. Twitter recently upped their game by making service through direct messages more appealing (for consumers and companies) by introducing welcome messages and quick replies.  London City Airport is using Facebook Messenger and Twitter to automatically update passengers on flight information. Austrian Airlines has a Facebook Messenger virtual assistant. And Heathrow has recognised the need to be where their Chinese visitors are, on WeChat.

Where to start if you're thinking that customer service through social media could be an option? Take a look at Twitter's Customer Service Playbook and decide on what your goals are. Maybe it's answering customer questions, maybe it's service recovery. Secondly, put yourself in your customer's shoes and analyse what they are asking you for right now, online and offline. If you don't know, there's no better time to find out.

I hope you enjoy the rest of issue #2 below.

Michael Meloni
+61 410 223 843

Qantas redesigns their homepage

Qantas has redesigned their homepage and while most of the changes are cosmetic, I've found it does speed up searching for flights. I think Jetstar has one of the tidiest booking processes for airline bookings but these homepage improvements do go a small way to improving the Qantas online experience. 

Ideas that are hard to swallow

Web round up

South African Airways on their digital transformation

First, the one thing to keep in mind at all times is that it’s not all about technology.

Sydney’s future airport at Badgerys Creek

A great look at what Badgerys Creek means for Sydney and Australia (and how it can go wrong). 

Qantas virtual reality app offers immersive pre-travel experience

Qantas has launched a virtual reality app, which allows travellers to explore immersive destination content before booking their flights. AirNZ did something similar recently for Hong Kong. 

Taking the customer temperature in airline marketing

Using weather to boost ancillary revenues. 

Brussels Airport puts queues in perspective to ease travelers minds

The only time I get stressed at airports is when I see long queues.

Digital is naturally key to Future Transport in NSW

One of the goals of NSW Transport's Technology Roadmap is to personalise all of their customer interactions and they've identified digital (and data) as the way to make it happen. 

Hackers are holding San Francisco’s light-rail system for ransom

San Francisco Municipal Railway riders got an unexpected surprise this weekend after the system’s computerised fare systems were apparently hacked. 

From Twitter

Industry opportunties

Melbourne Airport: Business Development Manager - North Asia

Buzz Products (Melbourne)

Buzz Products do innovative work with a number of airlines. They currently have a range of roles available, including a Client Relationship Manager to manage international airline accounts.

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PassengerWise is curated by Michael Meloni. You can learn more about Michael and his projects on his LinkedIn profile (don't hesitate to connect).