JetBlue

Southwest Makes Friends Using Twitter

Since more and more airlines are adopting social media, Twitter in specific, to accomplish things and interact with customers, the fliers are realizing the increasing ease at which they are able to interact directly with the airlines. Southwest Air thinks so, after the 2013 holiday season, the rate in which fliers interact with the industry via social media skyrocketed. This trend will only continue in greater number in the seasons to come. Fliers are realizing how much voice they have in these companies who are almost constantly monitoring their online presence.

By using records that were set in 2012 from the holiday traffic, Southwest has come up with the most frequently asked questions and have posted them on most of their online profiles, and have also prepped responders to respond to these question quickly. In January of 2014 Southwest launched its Listening Center which is powered by Salesforce Radian6, which is a social media monitoring platform that will allow Southwest to engage its customers in almost real time.

Southwest doesn’t stop at using its online presence to reach fliers and potential fliers. In February of 2013, Southwest engaged in a conversation with JetBlue over Twitter. A frequent flier named Phoenix Robles tweeted that “It’s an aviation geek thing, but it SERIOUSLY annoys me when people abbreviate @SouthwestAir as “SW” and @JetBlue as “JB” *….”. This then continued on in a lighthearted conversation between the two airlines. The two airlines continued on in a light hearted conversation over Twitter, throwing around aviation jargon, and making jokes. A third user, Alexa Rae, tweeted both airlines saying, “You guys friends or something?”

 

JetBlue's Reply

JetBlue’s Reply

 

Southwest's Reply

Southwest’s Reply

It’s nice to see that not only are airlines interacting more with the fliers, but also with each other. Interactions like this speak more for the brand of a company than any amount of advertisement can do. In this interaction, we see the respect and lighthearted genuineness that come from both of these companies. I can only hope to see more interactions like this in the future.

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JetBlue Leads the Way with Tweets

So far in the previous post we have looked at how Airports have began using Social Media and using it to better convenience their fliers. Now we will shift our attention from Airports to Airlines. Airlines are one of the best industries in today’s world that are trying to use social media to solve problems and benefit their fliers. The first company we will look at, and visit again later, is JetBlue. We’ll look at how they are using Twitter to help their fliers and see what else they are doing to best utilize the ever-growing tool called social media.

JetBlue has become one of the biggest corporations that uses Twitter the social media website. They are the largest Airline to use it and have the largest number of followers out of all other Airlines on Twitter. As of now they have 1.8 Million followers and over 175,000 tweeted messages. Their Facebook presence is also growing, with 894,884 likes on their Facebook page; this is used to tell potential fliers of any major changes to the Airline. Things like seating upgrades, specials, and they also do give away contests where you can win anything from discounted flights to free trips. JetBlue’s attention to twitter takes 6 people from their corporate communication department to monitor the page from the start of the day to the end of the day. It is this constant monitoring that makes their use of twitter so successful and efficient.

With six people whose jobs are to monitor a twitter page and JetBlue’s other social media presence, there is a good amount of manpower being used. How effective is this in terms of boosting profits for the company? An interview with Marty St. George the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Commercial at JetBlue reveals how important this is to the company whether or not the presence on social media sites is directly related to sales or not. “The utility is not what it does to the bottom line but how it works as a marketing tool, real-time customer feedback is a gift.” Marty realizes that not only is he building JetBlue’s brand image with his use of Twitter, but is also building brand loyalty, which is how you increase in profit. Marty goes on to talk about how JetBlue, being a successful company, is getting bigger and bigger everyday. How can they go about staying small and holding onto the customer service values that the company was built on? The answer for JetBlue was social media: “One of the things that has been a factor in our pursuit and embrace of social media is our customer base, JetBlue has a customer base that skews more affluent, younger, and much more tech-savvy than the traditional airline.” While Marty is not quite sure what the next steps are for JetBlue, he knows they will include the use of new technologies and social media to reach their fliers.

While it may seem that JetBlue has had a loving relationship with social media, they have been at the other end of the rope. On August 9, 2010 a flight from Pittsburg to New York was landing, where a flight attendant by the name of Steven Slater was involved in an altercation with an unruly customer who accidentally hit Slater in the head with her luggage. Slater then replied by yelling, “I’m done” and taking a beer before he slid down the emergency exit of the airplane. The event went viral and Time listed it at number two in the Top Ten Travel Moments of 2010. The company decided that they needed to respond quickly, yet not so quickly that important were facts are ignored. They waited a few days before first responding on its blog, BlueTales, and with a memo to its employees. The memo released by CEO David Barger stated, “Let me just say this: JetBlue will always seek to prosecute people who physically harm or threaten to harm a crew member or customer. Period.” Slater was put on suspension from the company and then later removed.

JetBlue despite having a viral negative message has not focus on the past but instead looks toward to the future, continuing to develop their online presence and think of new ways to conveniently use social media for their fliers.