Plansmith Blog

Customer Service and Social Media: A Lesson For Banks

Posted by Tom Parsons on 5/31/17 3:50 PM
Tom Parsons

Last month I experienced the best service possible. It was from American Airlines (no, really) – and it was through social media of all things.

The night prior to travel, I paid over $60 to get preferred boarding and a better seat. My boarding group went from 6 to 5. Anyone familiar with air travel will know that boarding group 5 is no prize.

While I was driving to the office the next morning, I stewed about what I would say to the gate agent to get moved up. Then I retold the story to collegues, mostly to complain. It was perplexing.

Then, being a student of social media, I thought I’d see if AA was listening. So I tweeted:

@AmericanAir I paid $60 to get preferred boarding - got moved from group 6 to 5. How is that preferred?! #unhappy

In less than a minute, I got this back:

It's preferred boarding. We've made some changes to the names of our boarding groups. Take a look here:

A quick look at the link and it was confirmed – preferred boarding! This means boarding after 1st class and elite travelers, which is what I expected.

But the lesson is this: you have to listen constantly and respond. If you don’t have a customer service program that uses social media, then look into it.

I wasn’t expecting a response, but clearly AA was waiting for me – and perhaps thousands of others – to lodge a complaint. Not only did they respond fast, they had an answer fast, too! Maybe it’s automated, maybe there are hundreds of eyes watching a big board of tweets. Whatever the means, they were on it.

In a bit of irony, the purpose of my travel was to attend #BankSocial, a conference for bank marketers to learn and share ideas around social media and content marketing. The biggest draw was keynote speaker Jay Baer (@jaybaer) of Convince and Convert. His most recent book Hug Your Haters was the topic of his address. There were numerous take-aways, but the most memorable was this:

Nudge for complaints - praise doesn't teach you anything.

Please share your experiences in the comments below or contact me directly.

And here's the complete string of my interaction with American: 

 TCP AAir FullTweet.png


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Topics: social media for community banks, social media, Customer Service

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