As a nervous flyer, I like to perform several tasks before taking to the skies. I like to get to the airport in good time. I like to make sure my keys, loose change and anything else that could set off a metal detector is neatly packed in my hand luggage so I can speed through security without getting patted down. Most importantly, I like to secure a window seat on the airplane, so I can make sure the wing isn’t about to fall off anytime during the flight (like I said, I’m a nervous flyer).
To guarantee a window seat, I always check-in online. So when I recently went to check-in for a flight and the airline’s website seemed to be having some problems, I decided to hit the airline’s support team on Twitter for some help.
Initially, the response was fantastic. Support got back to me in minutes and suggested I try a different browser. This didn’t work, so they them asked me to send some screen shots which I did and then…. Nothing.
They just stopped replying. I looked at my watch and it was a little after 5pm. The social media team had obviously gone home for the night and my problem could wait until the morning (by which time I would be at the airport).
OK – this was not a big problem. I was able to get to the airport in good time, check-in and request the last window seat on the aircraft (and, I’m happy to report, the wing stayed firmly attached for the duration of the flight).
But supposing I was attempting to contact them about something more important like a flight cancellation, missing luggage or a ticketing problem. These are issues that can impact on an airline’s reputation and when shared on social media can be damaging, if not resolved quickly.
And it is not just the airline industry that cannot afford to clock off early. In fact, if you run any sort of business that operates outside of normal business hours (and that includes any type of online business), you need to be available at a time and place to suit your customers (not your contact center).
Welcome to the 24/7 world of social media where the people who put in the hours in get all the rewards.
To find out how Viralheat can help you manage your social media activity in a timely, engaging and profitable way, join us for a free product demonstration every Thursday at 1pm (PST), 10am (EST), 6pm (UK).
Photo credit: Mark Stevens