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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

@SouthwestAir understands and embraces Twitter


Last week, I was returning home from a business meeting in Austin. I was flying Southwest Air, which put me connecting in Nashville.

I tend to pass the time as I hang in the air by blogging. When we land, I post the blogs as we taxi to the gate.

My blogging tool of choice is my iPhone, and if you're familar with that technology, you know that it could use a better battery.

You guessed it! I needed to recharge in Nashville.

As luck would have it, I was in a section of the airport that was being remodelled. Most of the wall plugs were dead, and there was no recharging station as we usually find near the Southwest gates at other airports.

Not being one to suffer in silence for very long, I tweeted my annoyance @SouthwestAir with a #fail hashtag.

Within moments, I had a reply that the facility manager had just been informed.

Whoa! That was unexpectedly fast.

I read this tweet as I leaned against the wall where I finally found a functioning plug. Twitter did not get my phone charged any better or any faster, but I did feel better knowing that the company knew, and, I liked to think, would do something about my problem.

Well fast-forward to right now. Southwest hit one million followers. (The company is almost as popular as @Sockington, a tweeting cat.)

To celebrate, you can receive $10 off your next roundtrip purchase using TwitterLuv as your promo code. This promotion lasts two days.

Better get clicking!

But this is not the important thing.

The important thing is that Southwest has group often tweeting employees who monitor the Twitterverse, responding to tweets about Southwest, making those responses even more timely, and helping grumpy travellers like me stay just a little more on an even keel.

That, however, is not the important part of the important thing.

Before we get to the important part of the important thing, you need this context.

Tweeting is not a part of those employees' jobs with Southwest. Those guys have regular jobs. The tweeting for Southwest is just something those guys do extra. (Southwest does have some three other people whose job is to moniter the twitterverse for important tweets.)

Now here us the important part: Southwest encourages and promotes that activity.

Rather than forming an ad hoc committee to study the possible uses of Twitter until such a time as Twitter falls from the planet, Southwest has embraced the moment and recognized the potential of that peculiar mode of communication, recognizing that there is nothing much to think about regarding the use of Twitter in customer service.

You just leave the people to do it.

Employees willing to tweet gratis for customer service is one thing; supporting and encouraging those employees is another. Giving those employees a free plane ticket for the service is simply astounding.

Bear in mind, though, that I have set aside some $87 for an external battery to use with my phone.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

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