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Tweeting Without Fear

13 Aralık 2011 , Salı 17:46
Tweeting Without Fear

Southwest Airlines

About 10 people have a hand in Southwest's Twitter account, fielding questions about lost baggage, delayed flights and misplaced drink coupons.
Southwest started its account, @SouthwestAir, in 2007, initially placing it under the advertising division, but later moving it the public-relations department, where it was handled by social-media specialist Christi McNeill.
Ms. McNeill soon found she lacked the knowledge to answer some tweeted questions, such as the ticket counter's opening time at a specific airport, or the authority to quickly resolve other matters, such as refund requests.

"I was a traffic cop of information," Ms. McNeill said. "Can you imagine if you called into an airline and the person who answered the phone had to ask someone else for the answer?"
This year the airline's communications department teamed up with its customer-relations team to recruit and train employees to answer questions on Twitter. At least one person from each unit monitors the account from about 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. central time, roughly matching Southwest's flight schedule. The team is on call in the event of bad weather or service disruptions.
If someone tweets a complaint to @SouthwestAir, the reply may come from Whitney Bartels, via her account @SouthwestWhit. "So sorry to hear about your [lost] luggage. Have you filed a claim? Any progress yet?" she recently tweeted to an upset customer.
Southwest's Twitter feed reflects its casual culture. That temporarily changed in April, when the fuselage on a Southwest plane ruptured in midflight. The carrier's earlier tweets joking bout April Fool's Day, quickly gave way to serious statements about the incident and Web links on how to rebook flights.
Using a modified version of the company's social-media crisis plan, which covers how best to communicate and what to say in the event of an emergency, Ms. McNeill says, "We shifted our tone to be a little bit more corporate."
"Enjoy the wifi!" Ms. McNeill tweeted to a customer before the incident. Shortly afterward, she got more serious, tweeting, "Southwest Airlines responds to loss of pressurization event on flight from PHX to SMF," with a link to a Southwest statement about the event. She continued to provide updates.

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