Twitter: An Outlet for Moaning

By | Category: Travel rumblings

In the old days, if you had a problem you complained in person or by letter or by telephone. The arrival of the internet allowed blogs and then social websites.

Twitter which sometimes seems no more than the virtual stalking of celebrities has provided a bonus and a problem for the travel industry. It is a bonus in that travel companies can put up last minute offers and thoughts secure in the knowledge that it will be quickly seen by followers.

The problem is that people are using it to moan about the service and problems they have received. And because it must be written briefly so you can’t waffle (you only have about the same space as the first line and a half of this piece) it will be picked up by followers; exactly those same followers that the travel companies were trying to promote to. Now is Twitter, at least for travel, becoming just a unifying outlet for complaints? Is it a future replacement for the letter (which only the company and you saw) but now available for all to see.

Kyle Peterson of Reuters wrote about this conundrum this week pointing out that no praise is generally to be found about airlines. It consists of just gripes and moans.

For us as consumers that means we have another outlet if we don’t think we are being listened to by the companies against whom we feel wronged. For the travel companies, it means that they must listen and react because it may damage them not to do so. As many of you are aware, we are members of the Customer Care Alliance and research from the annual study shows that amongst travel related companies, if a person is unhappy with a service, they tell between 11 and 15 people which is much more than any other industry. If they are happy they only tell less than 6.

So if you are unhappy consider Twitter and the other social networking sites; it might help but equally, if you are happy with a service, say so.

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