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06 September 2013 08:36
Twitter may be a useful tool for consumers
Social media may prove a key weapon in the battle for better customer service, as one disgruntled British Airways customer has proven.
Hasan Syed was so annoyed with the way BA handled the issue of his father's missing luggage, that he paid to have a tweet promoted. Paying to have a promoted tweet means it is read by more people as it is given greater prominence on the Twitter feed of the relevant company. Promoted tweets are normally only used by companies who want to advertise something.
The tweet read: "Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous."
Mr Syed's tweet spread around the world, having been initially targeted for New York and the UK. Many re-tweeted his message and six hours after it went live it was picked up by news website Mashable. After another four hours, British Airways picked up on it and replied with "Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 09:00-17:00 GMT. Please DM [direct message] your baggage ref and we'll look into this."
Mr Syed was complaining after his father's bags got lost on a flight from Chicago to Paris. The issue of lost luggage is reminder of the importance of
travel insurance for those jetting off.
It is not clear how much he paid for his promoted tweed, but experts believe it could become a popular way for the public to fight back against big businesses.
Writing in his blog, Shashank Nigam, chief executive of aviation consultancy SimpliFlying, said: "The implications are tremendous for the future of airline customer service, especially on social media.
"These tools are easy to use and brand detractors have the same access to them as corporations. I'd guess that this cost less than a thousand dollars to buy and Mr Syed targeted it smartly.
British Airways later told the BBC: "We would like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. We have been in contact with the customer and the bag is due to be delivered today."
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