COMM0014: Blog #4 – WestJet soars in social media

When I think about some great B2C marketing campaigns that I’ve seen recently, one company that really stands out is WestJet.

From their “owners” days to their more recent Christmas miracle campaign and salute to women in aviation, WestJet has made an impression as a caring and customer-oriented business.

The company uses social media, especially Twitter and YouTube, as a way to connect and interact with their customers. They’re also connected on Facebook and Instagram, where they focus more on contests and promotions, including pushing out pictures and videos of travel tips to gorgeous destinations.

Their social campaigns seem to be working, especially on Twitter, where they have 317,000 followers, almost double the following that Air Canada has. From a customer service perspective, one thing I really appreciate, which I notice more and more companies doing, is posting the hours they’ll be online. WestJet tweets when they sign off each night and provides alternate contact information. And when dealing with complaints, they don’t just apologize, they ask for details so they can follow up.

They also make some pretty smart decisions on social. Do you remember the cold weather delays at airports early in January? WestJet posted a video message on social media apologizing for the delays, explaining what the company was going to do to help the situation and letting people know where to find more information. I think that was a more personable alternative to a written message and apparently others agreed. The video received a number of understanding comments from customers, which was impressive given the stressful situation they were faced with.

When it comes to flights, for the most part I’m looking at price, but I think that customer service is becoming pretty important after some very negative experiences with some airlines. I’ve never had any major issues with WestJet and have always been greeted with a smile. And, to me at least, their presence on social media reflects the in-person interactions I’ve had with their staff.

It’s important to highlight that it’s not all positive. I noticed a tweet from a customer a few days ago stating that WestJet is too busy to reply to emails, to which the company replied that they’re 3-4 weeks behind. So it seems like, while they have put a lot of focus on responding to customers in the social world, they may have let some other more traditional methods of interaction slip.

I know you can’t be all things to all people, but do you think it’s appropriate to delegate a large number of resources towards the all-important social media world, even if it means letting some of your other customer service areas slip?

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