How can Qantas recover from the recent grounding debacle? The numbers differ, but it’s safe to say that it personally affected well over 100,000 people when you include friends and family that were expecting a nice visit from someone flying Qantas.
Back in the 80’s Rainman let us know that Qantas never crashed. It’s not exactly true, but that was their reputation back then. They were arguably the most respected airline in the world. Unfortunately there’s no quick recovery solution for this one; this incident has damaged the company’s reputation for years to come.
I’m sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be going into their politics or business practices, I’m only going to concentrate on what Qantas is doing right now in regards to their online reputation management on Twitter & Facebook.
Qantas did a good job supplying helpful links to people affected by the grounding and they didn’t delete the mountains of negative comments they received.
I would like to point out that they shouldn’t have said they wouldn’t put updates on Facebook until the following morning. That only adds to the frustration their customers were experiencing. Even if they didn’t have anything concrete to report, they could have posted little updates just to let people know that they were still there.
Today Qantas is on Twitter busily responding to customers with issues. They’re not dwelling on just the negative though; they’re doing a great job of keeping it positive and thanking the people that give them praise too.
Stephen Fry’s Lost Wallet
On Nov. 4th Stephen Fry was on the Qantas flight that was forced to land in Dubai after an engine had to be shut down. Fry used Twitter to give ABC News updates about the situation while he was stuck on the tarmac. About an hour later Qantas finally got in on the conversation.
Qantas did a good job of dealing with this very public situation, but they took too long to respond to Fry’s initial tweet. Qantas should have been all over this before ABC News started getting in on the action. Fry used the #qantas hashtag which would have informed Qantas right away if they were actively monitoring their Twitter stream.
To be fair there is a high number of people using the word “qantas” and the #qantas hashtag right now, but Qantas should have people monitoring each tweet for high profile incidents like this and they should be prepared to respond right away.
Customer Service on Twitter
Qantas is in a very tight spot right now. They should have their social networks manned 24/7 until things get back to normal. Their customers still have issues after 5pm and they’re missing out on tons of opportunities to let them know that they’re listening to their concerns.
I have noticed that Qantas have gotten much more active on Twitter following the Dubai incident and they’re doing a pretty great job engaging people. So good on them for that, but why don’t they control @Qantas?
Recommendations for Qantas
- Contact Twitter and take control of @Qantas. It’s your brand name, people tweet to it everyday thinking it’s you and the user isn’t even using the account
- Hire more people to monitor your reputation 24/7 until things die down a bit
- Give whoever is in charge of responding on your social networks the power to speak on your behalf without having to wait for upper management to tell them what to do
- Respond quickly, it will mean a lot to your customers
- Don’t tell people customer service closes at 5pm. If you’re on the internet you don’t close
- @QantasKangaroo is clearly in violation of Twitter’s TOS since they don’t readily appear to be a parody account. Request Twitter to remove it completely due to the inappropriate content. Consider using it yourself because it’s a cute idea.
Overall I’ve been impressed with Qantas and their online reputation management on Twitter. Big companies usually stuff it up, but Qantas is putting themselves out there, getting in on the conversations and keeping a personable & professional image the whole way.
If you’re looking at doing your own reputation management on Twitter you could do worse than study what Qantas is doing.