Use Twitter for Travel Customer Service

Who hasn’t called a “Customer Service” line only to wait for 20 mins on hold?  Finally when the attendant answers the phone, usually their English isn’t perfect and they are hard to understand because of their accent.  You then proceed to explain the issue that you’re having.  The employee then reads back to you from a script that basically says you’re screwed.  Frustrated, angry, and disappointed you hang up the phone.

You haven’t progressed anywhere.  In fact, you’ve digressed.  Now instead of being frustrated with the fact that the reason for your call, it has been compounded with a terrible customer service experience.

My generation has grown up without “Customer Service.”  We’re used to waiting for a 20 minute phone call to fix a small issue.  I understand that companies have to cut costs, and can’t be spending hours on the phone with someone who complains that their airplane bathroom was stinky.  (They all are, buddy).  It feels like you’re just a number and they really don’t care.

If you’re like me and feel like something should be done, let me tell you that I’ve got the secret.  Listen Up.


Two weeks ago my brother and I ran into a dilemma.  We had booked a flight to Buffalo so we could attend a travel blog conference called TBEX.  Not wanting to be away from our families too long, we booked the flight right around the conference and didn’t have much wiggle room.

Almost instantly we regretted our decision. (taking a short trip without add ins)  We were going to be right close to Palmyra, NY, Niagara Falls, and so many other cool things in the area.  We knew that changing our flights would cost $150 each, and that wasn’t worth it to us.

Fortunately, Delta sent us an email one day announcing that our flights had changed.  It put us in Buffalo, NY about 30 minutes later than we had initially expected, and late for a meeting we had arranged that night.  This was our moment.  Brad called me with excitement explaining that this was going to be our chance.  What did we do?

Called Delta’s reservation line.  Guess what we got?  A machine.  After navigating the press 5, then 3, then 9, then 5, then wait for the prompt and press 7.  Finally we had arrived to the spot where you actually get in line.  The prompt then said, “Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.  Your wait time will be approximately 15 minutes.”  Ouch.  We decided that the 15 minutes would be worth the wait.

Finally someone, with a thick Indian accent, answered the phone.  We explained the scenario to the CR rep, who then tells us, “I am bery(sic) sorry, but we cant change your flight unless we move you more than 90 minutes.  You must pay $150 dollar change fee to change flight.”

Feeling defeated, and realizing that we weren’t going to change the flights, Brad hopped on Twitter and posted this:

Customer Service

Our Tweet to Delta

The tweet was very soft in nature, but still explained our disappointment.  Almost instantly (not even close to 15 minutes) did we get this response from @DeltaAssist.

Customer Service Twitter

Delta’s Response to Brad’s Tweet

Isn’t it nice to not spend 5 minutes looking up the phone number?  How about not navigating the ridiculous virtual assistant who doesn’t seem to understand the word “REPRESENTATIVE” after you’ve said it two or three times.  I’m almost sure that they train those systems to not understand that word.  Then we saved ourselves 20 minutes on the phone too.

We promptly responded to them by giving them our confirmation number for the flight and explaining our situation.  About 30 minutes later I received an email from Delta with a new itinerary showing our flight leaving the previous day.  Victory.  Victory.  In celebration we thanked them for their great response:

Twitter Customer Service

Always thank them for their help

We hadn’t even spent 5 minutes doing this and it was much more successful than the phone call that took 25.  If you’re looking to simplify your life and get some real customer service, hang up the phone.  Sign up for a Twitter account.  Even if you only use it to do this it’ll be worth its time.

Moral of the Story

Becky, who works at my office, (not the office for WW, but the boring one that takes up most of my day ;)) has a relative who works for Delta.  When we explained the situation to her relative the response was, “Oh yeah.  They watch Twitter like a momma bear.”

Although customer service has almost completely been eradicated from the planet, there is one small corner where you can still find it, and it’s on Twitter.

I can guarantee that you’ll get farther faster by using Twitter than almost anything else when it comes to the travel scene.  All the major hotel chains and airlines have hired Twitter specialists who maintain their image on this important outlet of Social Media.

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5 Responses to Use Twitter for Travel Customer Service

  1. Ken says:

    When you tweeted @DeltaAssist, did you get an email when they tweeted back? Did you post your conf# publicly? I have no idea how Twitter works. Can you send them a private message or is everything public?

    • Sheldon says:

      @ken- Good question. So with twitter you can send a normal tweet, which is what we did first. It showed up on their wall because we tweeted to them. Their response said: please follow and DM the confirmation number. That means that when two people follow each other they can send private or (Direct Messages). Nobody can see them because they’re direct. When they had completed the change they emailed the new itinerary. So it is a combination of all three.

      • Ken says:

        Do you get a notification email that they replied to you or do you need to check their Twitter feed for a reply? Did they tweet your account when they asked for your conf#?

  2. Michelle says:

    This is such a great way to use twitter! Glad you got your flight changed!

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