While many brands are contemplating, whether to be present on social media or not, the rest are jumping into the bandwagon and making most of it. One of the most common inhibitions amongst brands in adopting social media is fear of complaints / grievances from the customers. However, it all depends on how you as a brand promptly respond to the situation by actively listening in those situations. Here is an experience, I had with Indigo Airlines, last week.
I cancelled my ticket with Indigo airlines and was surprised to know that they don’t refund the money immediately (this was my first airline ticket cancellation experience!). They credited my refund amount and I had an option to use it for next travel in next 365 days. Alternatively, I had to call a toll free number and request for refund.
I was pissed off with this arrangement. For a traveller who is accustomed to get refund from IRCTC within 48 hours of cancellation, this was a shocker. As a customer I didn’t like both options for these reasons:
a) Why would I leave my money with an airline? Though I could use it within next 365 days (which would obviously happen), but still it wasn’t convincing to have it credited with a service provider.
b) If at all I had an option to get a refund, why should I make an additional step to call the Toll free number? Shouldn’t there be an option within the cancellation procedure itself asking me if I want a refund or not?
Just when I was wondering, what I should do, a tweet popped up on my timeline announcing Indigo Airlines’ presence on Twitter. Now, it was time for action!!!
I welcomed @Indigo6E on Twitter and shared my grievance. It was a ‘fingers crossed’ moment.
There came a standard response to share my booking number, similar to what other brands ask for –invoice number / order number / mobile number etc. Nothing critical about it, but depending on one’s past experience with various brands, customers are always sceptical if this step would further result in a fruitful solution or not!
I received a responsible Direct Message (private messaging feature on Twitter) from @Indigo6E and it was enough to pacify me. The countdown began for the refund process!
Then came the surprising and satisfying moment when I saw my refund amount credited to my account, that too on 3rd working day (while they promised to refund in 7 working days). I must say @Indigo6E has got its basics right on social media and I am thankful to them. They did everything right – acknowledged my grievance, took time to take stock of the situation, promised a favourable action & most importantly stood by their words to refund the money well within the promised time period.
If you are brand manager or a social media manager here are few takeaways from my experience while you craft the social media strategy for your brands:
1) Appreciate the strength of a social media platform and set your social media objectives in congruence with your marketing objectives
2) Be prepared for the surprises! You might receive both roses and bricks on social media. You, as a brand should be prepared to leverage them in your favour
3) Adopt the basic marketing fundamental ‘to value customer’ on social media too. Deleting a comment or ignoring a request on social media is strictly an offense (yes I mean that!) on this medium. Acknowledge every person who is taking pain to converse with you.
4) As far as possible, solve the query / grievance right on that platform itself instead of diverting them to your customer care. Social media platform is an important touch point for a brand and it makes no sense to pass the ball, to other touch point and harass customer.
1) I flew with Indigo Airlines for four times of my last six trips, and commend their punctuality and hence they continue to be my preferred airline. The refund experience has been an icing on the cake, which would hardly make me shift from them.
2) I haven’t been paid for this blogpost by Indigo Airlines. The experience mentioned above is absolutely factual. I have written this piece as a token of gratitude for the satisfactory customer support that Indigo Airlines extended towards me.