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British Airways vs The Disgruntled Customer: A Twitter Parable




Once there was a good son who was very upset on his father’s behalf. The father flew to Paris on British Airways. Unfortunately, one of his bags went somewhere else. The man was disturbed so he asked the giant corporation for help but for two days his cries for help went unanswered.

The son, being a good son, wanted to help his father in his time of need, so he decided to use a very large, very loud megaphone to get the giant’s attention. It was a very special megaphone called a “Promoted Tweet.”

paid complaint

The giant wasn’t the only one who heard the man’s words. People all over the land of Twitter heard it, too. Then scribes and town-criers carried the man’s word out to the far corners of the web world and it wasn’t long before everyone had heard about the father’s plight.

Everyone in the land waited for the giant to respond. Would he be angry? Would he make it right? But the giant did not respond. He continued on as if he had not heard the man’s words.

This confused the public even more! How could a giant as big as British Airways ignore such a slap in the face? The Twitter villagers began lighting virtual torches and their numbers grew to 25,000.

Then, a smart young man discovered the problem.

“Look at the Twitter header!” he said and there it was:

9 to 5 Tweets

British Airways only responds to Tweets between 9-5 EST, Monday through Friday. The giant who earns his gold ferrying passengers across the globe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, only monitors his Twitter account during the traditional workday.

The good son was appalled. He replied with what the world was thinking.

british airways response

The giant, whom so many had loved and respected, is now a little smaller in the eyes of his followers. The son, on the other hand, gained the respect of many for his actions, for any man who would spent thousands of dollars to avenge his father is truly a very good man and a very good son.

The moral of the story: global giants who open their doors to the public, must be prepared to handle complaints anytime of the day or night lest they get taken down by those who once worshiped them.

What would you have done to change the ending to the story?

  • Andrew Dennis

    It’s astounding to see these large corporations are still finding ways to mishandle social media PR nightmares like this…

  • CliffElam

    Completely unsurprising. A few years ago I called AA in the UK at 5:03pm and they were … closed. So i called the US number. I’ve come to expect stuff like that in the EU – it’s so hard to fire people that companies run on skinny skinny staff.

  • http://www.testosteronbooster.org/ Jaime Lombana

    Companies still don’t understand social media. Which is predictable, since they still don’t understand customer service, which is much older. One of these days a Twitterstorm is going to throw some company into Chapter 11, and then they’ll pay attention. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch, to be honest.

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