Recently, Duff Watson and his two children were asked to gather their belongings and deboard from a Southwest flight after he sent a tweet, calling out an airline agent for rude service. He tweeted “RUDEST AGENT IN DENVER. KIMBERLY S. GATE C39. NOT HAPPY @SWA.”
Why was the family removed from the plane? According to the airline agent, because she felt her safety was threatened. Now, we don’t know about Watson’s behavior, whether he was aggressive and intimidating or not. Something seems off though, once you hear that he was allowed to re-board the plane after the tweet was deleted. A man who was set to fly a time-zone away was threatening your safety, but once he deletes the tweet, you feel safe again?
She left out a word. Her ”job” safety was clearly threatened.
Interestingly, Watson’s previous tweets were far from job-threatening. In fact, before the tweet debacle at the gate, Watson sent a shout-out for a baggage check-in employee, reading (in part), “Who rocks Denver? Cindy rocks @SWA.” The customer can write good reviews, and write a bad one just as fast.
Whether you believe his tweet was righteous or not, the point is that social media posts are given increasing validity. Before, a tweet was considered a vapid 140 character post, good or bad, sent headlong, high into the atmosphere of the internet.
Now, a tweet ricochets. For one, businesses take bad social media reviews seriously. It’s much harder to manipulate a reputation or corporate image when any voice with a revealing story will be heard. As a business, one way to mitigate such reviews is to listen to social media and respond with apologies or compensation. It also leads to feedback and firings of employees who are to blame for the bad reviews. In this case, Southwest Airlines later gave Watson, a Southwest A-list customer, complimentary vouchers while the airline conducts a full investigation. But the damage was done—both in regards to the customer relationship and with the onslaught of bad PR. Tweets have a new gravity that will most likely grow weightier.
But how do you get more proactive about responding to customers? What if you could intervene during the customer’s pain, rather than after the fact? As an IT service, you could easily monitor your company’s social media reviews, find a complaint, log it as a tickets and respond to the problem without leaving your ITSM tool. This way, you can respond to the review in a positive way, instead of letting the negative review gain any traction. Best of all, the customer’s problem will be fixed before even calling your service desk.
Here’s some great advice on how to write a social media policy.
Does your service center use social media? How do you manage or monitor social media chatter?