Today I take a look at Qantas Customer Care and show why it is #1 amongst Australian airlines when it comes to customer care on social media. I also review which are the best International airlines.
What I really like about the Twitter account homepage is upfront they say that we are here to listen. Secondly, they make it clear the hours when the Twitter account is monitored so people can have an expectation on response time.
If flights are cancelled, they not only communicate this across their Twitter accounts but they make direct contact with affected customers via an SMS message.
They make it as easy as possible for customers to give feedback on their website, with the red tab on the right hand side column of the Qantas home page.
By clicking on the red tab, the following pop up window appears, again reinforcing the message that we’re listening and want your feedback.
They acknowledge all customer feedback they receive on the @QFcustomercare Twitter page, no matter how rude or ill informed the complaint might be. In addition, with different people working in customercare, they personalise the response back to the customer. In this case, the response is from Jerome.
Now let us compare the above with Virgin Australia. I should state upfront that I am a Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer member which is why it pains me to write this section of the post.
On the Virgin Australia Twitter account homepage, their approach is described as “sharing our news and embracing your stories”. For feedback, you are directed you to a complaint and compliments form on their website. There it doesn’t clearly state what typical response time you can expect.
Other Australian airlines – Jetstar and Tigerair without a dedicated customer care Twitter account give clear indications as to when the Twitter account is monitored. Somewhat curiously, the Twitter account of Jetstar Airways is monitored for an additional 5 hours a day on weekdays. compared to Qantas.
Negative comments are left unacknowledged on the Virgin Australia Facebook page such as this recent example below shows.
Even worse, the moderator seems to pick and choose what complaints they will respond to whilst not acknowledging some others.
Without a dedicated customer care area for Virgin Australia on Facebook or Twitter, customers are posting their complaints and feedback on unrelated, even positive message Facebook posts. The above discussions on Jan 6 were posted in response to the positive story below on new Virgin cabin crew members.
When flights are delayed significantly or cancelled, there is no communication of this by Virgin on their Twitter account, nor in my personal experience is the customer contacted directly (even as a Velocity member). The below example is a recent example from my Twitter account after arriving at Melbourne airport and discovering that my flight had been cancelled. To put this in context, it was a normal sunny day that day in Melbourne with no abnormal weather events.
@VirginAustralia why didn’t you bother to put on your twitter feed today that the 1pm flight from melb to syd was cancelled or send cust sms
— Konrad Markham (@kardy1) September 5, 2013
@kardy1 Hi Konrad, our apologies. We do our best to inform our guests beforehand, but sometimes we’re unable to.
— Virgin Australia (@VirginAustralia) September 5, 2013
Qantas have set the standard for Australian airlines when it comes to using social media for customer care.
They can still improve in the area of hours of when their @QFcustomercare Twitter account is monitored. At minimum they should able to match the monitoring hours currently done by Jetstar.
Yes, the large airlines do offer 24/7 phone support for reservations and customer enquiries in Australia. However, in 2014 anecdotally more and more consumers are losing patience with being placed on hold to talk to someone at an overseas call centre. Customers have an expectation on social media that they will get feedback to queries quickly at most times of the day and night. After all, airlines fly 7 days a week and up to 24 hours a day. In the near future, there will be an expectation that social media customer care accounts are monitored 24/7 just like the current phone support.
How do other International airlines do in this area?
Most other International airlines do not have a dedicated customer care Twitter account. Some airlines such as Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific just have a Australian Twitter account page, the latter at least making it clear when tweets are monitored.
Air France don’t have a customer care account but they do monitor their tweets 24 hours a day 7 days a week (for their main Twitter accounts as well as for the USA and UK pages). “At your service 24/7 and 7/7”.
Finnair have a dedicated customer care Twitter account called FinnairHelps.
AirAsia has a dedicated customer care account and monitor the @Askairasia account from Mon – Sun 9am – 6pm. They also offer live chat in 7 different languages.
The clear winner overall is Etihad Airways for having a dedicated customer care Twitter account and monitoring the tweets 24/7.
by Konrad Markham
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