Summary of the Article
The article “Lost Bags, at 140 Characters, and Airlines Respond” by Martha White tells about a situation in which two passengers, Sid Banerjee and his colleague, were stranded for several hours at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Sid has missed his flight and wanted to return home to Washington. However, getting a flight back home seemed to be a great task. He tried to get assistance at the ticket counter and over the phone for hours without result. His colleague then suggested he tries Twitter. Unbelievable, but it worked. Social media is not the dominant communication mode between airlines and customers. For this reason, being served on social media tends to be faster since there is a shorter queue. However, this may not be the case for long. More and more people are venturing into the world of social media. More businesses are also putting up social media outlets to interact with their clients. Therefore, with time, the social media platforms will become as "busy" as other company methods of communication (White n.p.).
Evidently, shortly, there will be no more typewritten letters sent to companies. This method of communication is becoming outdated each passing day. As letters become obsolete in airline companies, more clients are getting acquainted with using social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to book flights, make inquiries, and seek clarifications. According to the article, airlines are fortifying customer service departments with specialists in social media. This allows more people/clients to be served in a shorter time and gives the company a wider coverage since anyone can seek the services anywhere in the world as long as they can access the internet (White n.p.).
In the modern world, time is money. Nobody wants to spend the whole day waiting for a response or calling a customer service the number that takes hours to be picked. Most airline companies know that customers want a near-instant reply to their queries. Delta Air Lines, in particular, have increased their social media customer service team by 30% last year. Southwest Airlines have a team of 29 people that deal with customer complaints, questions, and compliments on social media. American Airlines have 26 (White n.p.).
According to the article, social media has helped customers express their opinions especially in the context of complaints. Earlier, one would have to bring out their complaint since they do not have time to call customer service. When social media comes into play, the clients can easily raise their complaints, and they are responded to faster hence giving the company a chance to know where they can improve (White n.p.).
Critique and Personal Perspective of the Article
The article is quite relevant to our management course. It has brought to our attention how the management of a business in the current world can utilize social media platforms to increase business coverage. This can include online advertising which means that more customers can view the products you have on sale. The potential customers are also given a chance to seek clarifications from the seller. Therefore, even after the transaction, sellers can get an instant feedback from the customers. This promotes customer and brand loyalty. Using social media platforms in business also keeps a company ahead of its competitors since it can interact with the customers and know what they prefer in competitors' products. Hence, this gives a chance also to offer the same or even a better quality. In addition to this, social media allows one to increase traffic in the business' website enabling the company to communicate to its clients faster and more easily.
The article is quite beneficial since it enlightens the reader on the importance of social media in business. It especially shows the benefits of having social media platforms for a business operation in the air transport industry. The article tells about the case of a client whose flight was delayed and he was worried that he would miss his connection flight. She tweeted the company, and the customer service staff were able to solve the issue in less than an hour. Every airline company can borrow from this. The convenience and satisfaction of clients should be kept first for customer loyalty to develop. Other businesses, for example boutiques, can borrow from this.
The article has some strengths and, at the same time, some weaknesses. Its major strength is that it has shown the importance of social media in business. The author has succeeded in capturing the attention of readers by the numerous real life examples given in the story. The article has brought out the need for every business to have a strong social media department, especially for the large businesses/companies. The article's weakness is that it covered the use of social media only in airline companies. It would have had a greater impact if the author broadened the scope to other businesses, for example, supermarkets and boutiques.
I would recommend this article to others. It is very insightful and is an eye-opener for every business-minded person whoever it might be: a student, teacher, employer or employee, to name but a few. However, it would be the most important for employers, especially the management of most companies. Potential business owners can also use the information in structuring their businesses. The article would also be very useful for an entrepreneur whose business has low sales volume, and he/she is searching for ways to increase sales by expanding his marketing coverage.
In a nutshell, a company that changes its business pattern over time to incorporate social media has happier clients and hence more profits since more clients will develop customer loyalty. This will increase sales volume and consequently greater profits. Therefore, the management of every business should step out into social media usage for marketing and selling their products.
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