What can an 8-year old & social media teach Boeing about customer service? April 28, 2010Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Airlines, Branding, Conversations, Digital, Marketing, Social Media.
Tags: alaska airlines, Boeing, future of flight, harry winsor, Social Media, Twitter
Image source: Harry Winsor’s Boeing Drawing
It never ceases to amaze me how small things lead to big actions. Especially in the world of social media.
Speaking of airplanes – here’s a Boeing fail: http://bit.ly/aWpekl
I’m passionate about airlines and so I clicked on the URL and what I read made my jaw drop.
Meanwhile, let me give you a quick background on this ‘Unbelievable customer service story from Boeing’. http://bit.ly/bJrABe
This story is about John Winsor’s @jtwinsor 8-year old son Harry who is a passionate aviation enthusiast. Harry sends a drawing of his airplane design to Boeing and the plane maker gets back to him with a ‘staid corporate response’. I recommend that you take a few minutes to read this blog post – Is Your Customer Service Ready for the New World of Openness? http://bit.ly/bJrABe
Here’s Boeing’s official response to Harry Winsor’s drawing.
After which, I tweeted twice to @boeingairplanes –
@flightblogger ‘s tweet was then RTed a couple of times.
Couple of hours later, Boeing @Boeingairplanes responded directly to John Winsor’s blog post. Todd Blecher, who is Director of Communications at Boeing said in a comment:
I’m a Boeing communications director. I think I can address your comments. As you state, we have to respond to the thousands of unsolicited ideas we receive in a way that protects us against possible infringement claims. Having said that, we can do better when the idea clearly comes from a child as enthusiastic as your son. We will work on this. I hope Harry remains fascinated by airplanes and grows up to be an airplane designer. To help him and others like him we maintain the following website. http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/wond… I hope he enjoys it.
“The letter Mr. Winsor posted is, as he said, a required response. For kids, we can do better. We’ll work on it.”
It was a very smart move by Boeing to respond immediately and address the issue with a human touch. Boeing is now making very planned and prudent moves into the social media space. In this post, Ludo Van Vooren explores Boeing’s new communication strategy for new media engagement. (Very topical as it was published just last week!) And it seems that Todd Blecher is at the center of these efforts. Certainly Boeing is walking the talk.
The story doesn’t end there:
Alaska Airlines, whose drawing Harry Winsor created and sent to Boeing, wants to send him a special reward. @AirlineReporter had marked a copy of his tweet to @AlaskaAir asking them to have a look at Harry’s drawing. And they responded back via Twitter.
Sandy Ward at the Future of Flight Museum, Seattle @futureofflight wants to showcase Harry’s airplane drawing at a spot in their museum where they showcase innovative ideas and designs.
And TV stations in Denver and Seattle would like to interview Harry Winsor on this story.
The big picture:
I believe that social media is more about being social, responsive and showing that you care, whatever the size or nature of your business. This goes beyond mere presence on social networks.
Ultimately, this should be the goal of all marketing communications – reaching out to the right target audience, listening to them and telling them what they would like to hear.
Kudos to Boeing for coming out in flying colors in their first test with social media. And kudos to Harry Winsor who will grow up knowing that he made a difference with his passion for airplanes.