Seems like all you need to get some attention these days is a lot of Twitter followers and some anger, like Kevin Smith’s rant against Southwest Airlines.
First, if it’s entirely true that he was kicked off his plane because an employee thought he was too large (fat), the employees responsible for taking him off the plane should be punished and retrained. That’s just plain rude and bad customer service.
But, I’ve been a customer of Southwest Airlines for almost 20 years now and I love them. Sure, I love the low fares, but I love them most because they are efficient, innovative, and have great people. Their employees are consistently up beat, customer-focused, and have personality. They like their jobs and you can tell.
So, something just doesn’t jibe when I read a story like this. I think the truth is probably somewhere in between. I bet those arm rests didn’t come all the way down or maybe the passenger next to Mr. Smith was squirming, or maybe the employee didn’t exactly know the rules. I just don’t believe Smith’s theory that the employee didn’t like his movies. Think about it – that’s pretty self-absorbed thinking. Only Silent Bob and the crew on that Southwest Airlines really know the truth (and Kevin Smith’s Blog professes to provide that truth).
The most important takeaway from this story is how companies are using Brand Monitoring tools. Jet Blue has 6 employees who sit on top of Twitter, Facebook, and others listening to what you say. Here are my simple tips on what you should do to get your complaint heard:
1. Tweet / Post your complaint with the company’s name.
2. Increase the number of fans or followers you have because the more influential you are, the more likely a company will be to respond to you.
3. Be detailed. If it takes more than 140 characters, tweet several times. A good story deserves more than 140 characters.
4. Tell them what you want. If you want an apology, ask for one. If you want a free hot dog, ask for that.
5. Offer to take your complaint private. Give them 24 hours to respond.