Why @SouthwestAir Wins @ Social

Apparently this is not my year for airlines. Not even five minutes after landing in NYC last week, my ankle was slashed by an airport employee pushing a wheelchair through the jet way. I was so caught off guard by it, that other passengers of the Southwest flight were the first to condemn the employee who tried to practically just walk away from the incident. After one woman finally got her attention and let her know that she jammed the foot rest of the wheelchair into my ankle, the employee shrugged, half-heartedly asked if I was okay, and then walked off. I knew the injury was probably more than a little bruise, when passengers crowded around me and asked if I was okay to walk. I made a point not to look at my throbbing ankle until I was in the cab, and this is what I saw:

ankle_cab
A week later, this is what it looks like:
ankle_week_later

Needless to say --> OUCH.

My mother immediately asked if I filed a report with La Guardia. I thought that was a little much to have to file a report with a NYC airport. I mean, that would literally take forever. Instead, I Tweeted about the incident. What happened next, was incredibly impressive.

Within forty minutes, a Southwest Airlines customer service rep (@southwestgabe) responded to me, DM'd me, and asked for my confirmation number so he could file a report with La Guardia for me, and offered to send me a Southwest LUV voucher. Omg.  Over the next couple of days, the rep checked in to see how my ankle was doing, and which email address would be best to send the voucher to. Less than a week later, I received the voucher from Southwest.  Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is how social media is meant to work for brands. Not only did someone immediately get in touch with me, they took ACTION. I think that second part is something a lot of brands are missing these days. Brands have finally taken note that they need to respond ASAP, but they have yet to understand that by responding, they are committing to take action on the consumer's behalf. When you set up your social media team, make sure you not only have the manpower to answer the consumers, but also the resources to help the consumers. As the saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words." Your brand is not excused. 

-Marji J. Sherman

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