Saturday, June 4, 2011

Air Canada and Social Media... Who Knew!

When we think about a company’s brand, we often tend to think first of its visual identity: logo, colours, maybe the look and feel of their online presence.

Those are all key components of a brand, but something that is overlooked all too often is the experience of the brand.

Marketers like to say that your brand is actually the relationship with the customer; that is, the brand is the sum total of your customers’ experiences and interactions with your brand. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that when a customer interacts with your company in any context, from browsing your website to seeking customer service, they come away from the experience with a good impression.

Recently, I had just such an experience with one of the most well-known Canadian brands: Air Canada. This is a brand with more than its fair share of scars from poor customer service in the past. But with a carefully-planned social media strategy, they are going a long way towards healing those scars in the eyes of their most valuable customers: frequent fliers.

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, I received an automated email from Air Canada letting me know that the schedule for one of my bookings had been changed. This is fairly common, as they adjust their flight schedules frequently to match fluctuations in demand. Unfortunately for me, the new arrival time meant that I would be late for an important commitment. I suspected that they had a policy in place to deal with this sort of thing, but seeing as it was a Sunday and I didn’t want to spend my time on the phone, I decided to send a tweet to Air Canada’s official customer service Twitter account, asking for some general information about my situation. I was not expecting an immediate reply, and I did not necessarily need one since this booking was for a trip several weeks in the future.

Later that same evening, while having a sandwich in between flights at the Vancouver airport, my phone rang. To my surprise, it was a friendly Air Canada rep calling to let me know that she had seen my tweet, and wanted to take care of the situation for me quickly, rather than having me call the customer service line myself and wait on hold for an hour. She had taken the liberty of looking up my file to find my phone number, and she had all my booking information on hand so that we could quickly and painlessly choose a new flight schedule that suited me. No charge. And as an added personal touch, she had read enough of my recent tweets to know that I was in transit at the Vancouver airport at the time, and asked me how my trip was going.

After the call, I picked my jaw up from the floor and went back to my sandwich. Thirty seconds later, my updated flight itinerary landed in my inbox.

This is a great example of a company employee going way beyond the call of duty to quickly take care of a customer in need. It’s also an example of a company recognizing that they can use an effective social media strategy to save customers a great deal of time and effort, to make loyal customers feel valued – and to score some serious brand brownie points.

The whole experience left me feeling very confident that I had made the right choice flying with Air Canada, and it’s a feeling I will certainly remember next time I’m shopping around for a flight.

This is a great example of how a well-executed Internet Marketing and Social Media strategy will help you Build Your Business.

Floodlight Consultant - Bryson Gilbert - New Media Specialist
Donald Robichaud
FloodLight – Build Your Business
Kelowna / Ottawa / Toronto

1 comment:

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