If Your Brand Is A 24/7 Service, Then Your Social Media Needs To Be A 24/7 Service

I do not like Frontier Airlines. It probably started when I realized I had to PAY for a regular drink, or maybe because my knees have bruises on them after being dug into the seat in front of me the whole flight. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because after suffering through a VERY delayed flight on Sunday night that turned pretty much into a redeye, they sent me an extremely cold, stoic Tweet that said their social media is not 24/7.

My hatred of their social team began when I needed to know if there was space on a certain flight for my dog. The flight was leaving that day, and I had already spent a half hour on hold to Frontier. So, I took to Twitter. Let's just say, I was way past needing to know if my dog could get on a flight by the time I got a response AND the response told me to call customer service. Okay...thanks.

So, my expectations were pretty low when I started documenting my delay in the Denver airport Sunday night. I didn't start to get pissed off until I was FINALLY walking into my flight in an exhausted haze, and saw this beautiful sign:

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I stared at it for a moment, completely perplexed. Not only were they socially MIA, they had a call to action for you to engage with them?! Wtf.

When I still had no response when I finally landed in Milwaukee, I sent out this:

@marjijsherman_@flyfrontier_-_Twitter_Search_-_2014-09-30_12.37.20

My flight thanked me.

I didn't get TRULY pissed off, though, until, after a sleepless night, I saw this:

FrontierAirlines

So you mean to tell me that you have a business that operates 24/7 and I'm expected to get back to my house FIVE hours later than scheduled and go to my office on NO sleep the next morning, and your response is that you aren't 24/7?! Oh no, no, no.

Two things going on here --> Lack of connecting with consumers AND shitty understanding of social media (especially if you are still living in a universe where you can publicly make a statement that it's not 24/7).

I will most likely never fly Frontier again, and it's not because of the delay, it's not because of the crumb-filled dirty seat I had to sit in --> It's because I was looking for compassion and a personality and a timely response when I Tweeted them, and I got back a defensive untimely response. As a consumer, this tells me something about the brand, and it's something that I don't want to associate myself with.

Also, Frontier NEVER mentions their second handle that kindly keeps their complaints off of the handle they so lovingly advertise in their posters around airports. While using separate handles is a common practice for airlines, usually the customer service handle is clearly identified somewhere so customers know who to Tweet.

Now, Frontier could easily say that I'm just one person and I probably hardly fly them anyways. HOWEVER --> They are one of TWO airlines I fly home on a consistent basis, and I have a pretty tight friend group that also makes frequent trips home, and are also getting pretty sick of the airline.

Maybe it's a lack of social media understanding, or maybe it's just because this is a company that is having issues right now that are WAY bigger than social, but ANY company, no matter what size, is remiss if they think how they treat one consumer on social media is negligible.

So far, I was finally asked to send my email address, which I sent last night. Of course, no one answered until business hours this morning, and I still have not received an email. When I had an issue with Southwest Airlines, I had a voucher, heartfelt apology and a complaint sent to LGA on my behalf within 40 MINUTES of my initial Tweet. (Read more about that positive experience here --> Why @SouthwestAir Wins at Social )

Lessons learned:

  • Don't advertise your social media unless you're active on it when your consumers are active with your brand.
  • Advertise the correct handle for consumers to contact.
  • Don't set up a second handle just to keep negative conversations off of your main account.
  • Connect with the emotions behind your consumers' complaint and frustration, and tailor response accordingly.
  • Immediately act on information you ask for (If you ask for an email address, take the conversation to email ASAP)

And, by the way, Southwest is the other airline I fly when I go home. Thank God.

UPDATE: On 10/14, after I reached out to @FrontierCare again AND after numerous Tweets, I received a $30 voucher and apology via email.

- Marji J. Sherman

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