Focus Friday: The importance of responding in social media

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In today’s focus Friday, we look at the importance of responding to tweets. Depending on the industry you’re in, some tweets require quicker or faster responds. According to eezeer, 85.9% of tweets to airlines are customer service related, therefore if you’re not responding, chances are you’re losing your customers TODAY. To support that, a report by Mediapost, show that 18% of those who posted a negative review of the merchant and got a reply ended up becoming loyal customers and buying more.

@Usairways needs to learn this, this is because they do not respond to tweets, and their customers are furious. According to US airways twitter bio,  they don’t respond, instead they lead customers to another page. Remember my post about making it easy for your customers? This is a prime example of making it harder. Why? Let me show you the page.

  1. It takes so much time to fill up everything.
  2. Customers are already having problems with your customer service.
  3. It going against twitter. People are tweeting at YOU their problems. They don’t know that they are supposed to be going to your profile, then go to a support page, fill everything up and wait for support. They need help immediately. REALtime. That is what twitter is about.

I asked people who had experience with @usairways their opinions. This is what Brandon had to say

Twitter and social media in general are not that effective for just promotion. @usairways should be engaging with community feedback. I see their profile say they can’t respond properly on Twitter. I understand that the medium is too short to get into a detailed explanation, which is valid, but they aren’t using Twitter to engage at all!.  -@BrandonTwyford

Will it make a difference if @usairways responded?

It may help mypersonal perspective towards them, but the Twitter community will still see it as a negative experience. Says @trishbrg on twitter.

Is 140 characters too short to respond to customer on twitter? No, because @AirAsia and other airlines are doing this amazingly well, here is @AirAsia’s twitter stream.   

What should @UsAirways do?

  1. Get a support team dedicated to twitter.
  2. Integrate social in their website, may come in a form of a forum. Why? I notice customers are actually the one respond to other peoples inquiries on their Facebook page.
  3. Start a business blog. Show what goes on behind the scenes.
  4. Reward customers who are helping others.

Of course all this means nothing if US Airways doesn’t listen to what people are saying about their Airlines. The need to improve overall is crucial.

Your thoughts?


  • Extreme John

    I can’t tell you enough how much I laughed when I saw @USAirways in this post. Just one week ago I went through a ridiculous situation with them that ended up costing me another $600. I tweeted USAirways twice about it and mentioned how I would NEVER recommend them to anyone again.

    Think they responded? Nope.

    As a small business owner I can’t tell you the countless money and time I put into making sure that our customers are answered in a timely fashion. When USAirways goes bust I hope they don’t pretend confused about why.

  • Aaron

    Wow, sorry to hear about your experience mate, you’re not the only one going through the problems, i caught many tweets of people have problems too with no responds from @usairways, funniest part was, they replied a celebrity on twitter. Someone blogged bout it, one reason why i wrote this post.

    Keep up the great work mate!
    Must be tough responding to everyone is a timely manner, especially for a small business

  • Marianne Worley

    Isn’t it shocking that an airline would choose not to respond to customer tweets? When the majority of your customers are using social media to communicate, it’s critical to be there, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else. My personal experience with US Airways, though limited, has always been poor.

    Two more airlines that do social media right: Virgin America and JetBlue.

  • Dino Dogan

    Not only answered in a timely fashion, but also answered on their own terms. Right?

    Its the same same same problem that companies have when trying to reach people. The thinking is “we’ll build a website and thats that”…

    The analogy that I use all the time (and it seams to be working) is this one. If you were a lion in the African savannah, where would you hunt? In the desert or at the Serengeti (for those who dont watch much Nat Geo, Serengeti is the big watering hole where ALL animals congregate.)

    So where are your customers congregating? They’re not on your website…they are on twitter and facebook…so go there and hunt for their complaints, compliments, or whatever else you need from them…dont expect them to tumble for you, YOU tumble for them.

    If they want to connect with you on Twitter, be grateful they want to connect AT ALL.

    Are you with me, John?

  • Aaron

    Indeed its quite shocking, seeing that the industry is a fast paste one, all airlines need to be using it since customers are constantly tweeting at them

  • Aaron

    I’m with you Dino!

  • Ingrid Abboud

    What I find interesting here Aaron is that I’ve always associated North America as being pioneers in the Social Media industry – although as we can see here – others are doing it very well – if not better even!

    But when it comes to a major American airlines – it just boggles my mind that they would choose to ignore tweets from customers especially since the competition is usually fierce when it comes to rates and that customers will always be on the lookout for a company that provides them with the easiest route and the best rate – but what customers also want is to be heard and attended to. Much like a airline ATTENDANT would a passenger – so when an airline company is not responding – it’s kind of sad.

    Companies should know by now that their potential clients are on sites like Twitter and Facebook and a couple others and if they want to listen to what folks are saying about them – I suggest they they get on board! Pun intended lol.

    If they need more than 140 characters to respond to client inquiries and complaints then that’s fine – but at least acknowledge those peeps that contacted you and let them know where you can help them through a tweet.

    It’s not about simply being engaged – it’s about being engaging! There’s a difference and Danny Brown did a hell of a job pointing that out recently in one of his posts.

    Thanks for this excellent example Aaron. Nice to know that Air Asia is doing it the way they should :)!

    Have a great Monday.

  • us fda

    Well explained about twitter.. Nice to read.. Impressed me a lot.. Thanks for this..

  • Kiera

    I’m going to go at this and give USAir the benefit of some doubt 😛
    They DO offer a way for customers to give feedback… Which is a big step forward from many companies.

    But what an amazing opportunity they’re missing out on by not listening to where their customers talk. Gone are the days where we can talk “at” people – now we have the amazing chance to talk WITH them.

    Maybe they’ll learn?

  • Graham

    I guess it depends on on well they ignore… Like Cathay Pacific for example. Even though I wrote a blog post and spoke to people fairly high up in their organization, they just rode it out. Ignoring right to the end. Not sure how they get away with this kind of thing?

    Post here (Not trying to self promote, but very relevant):

  • Murray Galbraith

    Another great post Aaron, I’ve just recently been impressed with the effort our national airline @QantasAirways has been putting into social media.

    Just last week I was travelling in their Sydney premium lounge and mentioned it on Twitter, a quick response with a joke made me feel even more connected to the brand.


  • Pamela Hazelton

    Spot on! The same can also be said for companies that never reply to applauding tweets, too. There are a few companies – to which I’m a loyal customer – whom have never thanked or interacted with me, despite my mentioning them many, many times (via Twitter and on my blog). After a while, it makes me wonder – do they appreciate me?

  • Jonha |

    Looks like they’re starting to respond now, head over to their Twitter and you’ll see but the ridiculous landing page for customer complaint still doesn’t change the fact that they don’t want to help people out REAL TIME :-)Think they’re too big, eh?

  • Simon Nicholls

    Great post Aaron, couldn’t agree more on your point about businesses actually using Twitter to engage, especially if they are a service provider like an airline.

    It seems that US Airways isn’t the only American based airline that hasn’t quite figured out how to use social media and in particular Twitter. I had a shocking experience with Delta recently that I have written a blog on that you may find interesting:

    In addition to your points on what US airways should do, I would add a fifth point. Once you have engaged with a customer, you need to ensure that you follow up on it and feedback to the customer, otherwise its all just a bit false really (an attempt to save face in the public domain).

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  • Ruby S.

    On the same page with you Aaron, definitely a must to reply. But sadly must brands don’t realise the fact that’s so on their face! Most think it’s a great idea to have a radio/tv/press ad to announce that their brand on fb/twitter now but do nothing to increase the brand interaction. Their excuse? Simply too much of work. I recently wrote how not responding quick enough on social media could back fire: Have a read, let me know what you think! :)

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