How Delta Used Twitter to Help Passengers During a Storm

With a potential new blizzard on the way, now is a good time to mention the success Delta Air Lines had during a recent storm by using Twitter to help stranded fliers. Many Delta passengers used Twitter to re-book flights, while their less tech-savvy passengers who used phones and airport ticket counters stayed aground for many hours.

In a recent posting on Zendesk, Delta explained its strategy. It began monitoring Twitter in late 2009. But unlike many companies, instead of using Twitter as a marketing tool, it decided to emphasize customer service.

To make that happen, Delta instituted a pilot program, training a hand-picked team of four reservations agents in how to tweet and how to solve problems succinctly, within the confines of 140 characters. The program, called DeltaAssist, was such a success that Delta changed it from a trial to a permanent program just two weeks later and adding five more Twitter agents to the team.

Besides providing an immediate response to problems, DeltaAssist enables the airline to communicate with customers in the manner in which they prefer. It has dealt with finding your way around an airport, lost luggage, clearing customs and frequent flier mileage. Many fliers tweet in mid-flight when on planes with WiFi.

And while its goal is public service, it also helps in marketing by nipping negative publicity in the bud. If someone posts a complaint and gets an immediate resolution, they often tweet their pleasure to others.

Read more at the Zendesk Zengage Blog.