Monday, July 15, 2013

Social Media Maladies...

   We have a problem. Or rather, there are some folks with a problem. They have latched onto the social media universe without first addressing their existing condition. A complete disconnect between their marketing and their operations.

   As an example: Nobody expects velvet glove treatment from Ryanair (an European budget carrier). They don't promise it, and they don't deliver it. You get: a seat, take off, and landing. Everything else is pretty much an add-on. While sometimes people moan about it, they haven't really broken their promise. We might find their handling a bit akin to that of an aggressive shepard, but that is us just not being used to their model. Once you accept the model, as promised, you understand it. And as they would like tell you, "take it, or leave it." They do take off and land, and they make money. Pretty simple. 

   I use Ryanair. I am never disappointed. The conditions are known to me in advance, and I accept them in exchange for a great airfare, and often, the avoidance of a connecting flight. In relationship terms: We have an understanding.

   It is much, much worse to splash out money on all this touchy feely social media blather being concocted without the people writing it having an in-depth understanding of the service or product they are writing about. As an "Elite" member of a couple of  "conventional" airline programs, and a very frequent traveler, there is ripe territory here for examples.

  This fresh off the press at Lufthansa's Twitter feed:  "It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life... And I'm feeling good" Really? Well, I am a customer and I am not. Where are my missing air miles? The one's I wrote you about in April. Did they go missing with the "new dawn"?

There has been plenty of communication with the Lufthansa Miles and More program. I have had a few problems with flights where I doubled checked that my number was on file and still did not get credit for the flight. OK, stuff happens. One example: On April 20th of this year I contacted them with information about miles missing from one flight segment, on a two segment ticket. The e-mail promised: "We received your feedback with the number COM-1187086 and will start the processing immediately." I hate to be predictable, but you might already gather it did not happen, even though I sent them a copy of the boarding pass. 

Subsequently I wrote them again, and was promised an answer in 30 days. When I responded (with a bit of anger) that it had already been requested before, I got this automaton response:

"Thank you for your enquiry.

The processing of your request could take up to 30 working days (excluding weekends and holidays) and we trust that we can count on your patience. 

Kind regards,

Miles & More Service Centre

   The main point is the cavernous disconnect with their positively chirpy Tweet and the reality of dealing with them after using their service and simply asking them to credit an account as promised. With reference to the above mail - "Um, maybe you cannot count on my patience, it left the building." Sadly, and they likely know this, I have limited other options, but I have left them for protracted period before even though it is a massive hassle to do so
  Obviously I am angry. Why? Because they didn't do what they promised. If there was no Miles and More program, I wouldn't have a single thing to complain about. The flights were fine, I got where I needed to, the Lufthansa personnel on board were pretty good. But execution extends to every promise made. If you doubt this, try it out in a personal relationship.

   That needs to be thought about in every communication. Social media or otherwise. You are telling us who you are, and what you are going to do for us. Frankly, the ability to fix areas of disconnect is an opportunity to really shine. All companies, like people, make mistakes. Fixing them quickly is what can make you look great. But when you resort to auto-feed response, that's a broken promise. Especially problematic when dealing with someone who is using your service often enough to worry about your loyalty program. 

  It's not rocket science. Communication follows execution, and they MUST be connected.

  Still no miles.  :-(...

  Mack Morrison sings it best in "Return of the Mack" 

   "all this time you said that i love you 
   you lied to me 
   yes you did yes you di-i-id 
   you lied to me 
   all this time you said that i loved you 
   you lied to me 
   yes you di-i-id..."

     Actually a good song, to finish this up, the video actually has a jet in the opening sequence...LOL....anyhow, here's the video.

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