News team

The travel industry is unique, with research suggesting people are more likely to complain on social media about their experience than any other industry.

It’s not all bad though – travel companies can take advantage of this by listening to their customers and engaging with them on the platform of their choice. But with great power comes great responsibility; potential crises can be amplified and a situation that would be fairly straightforward to manage offline could turn into a full blown PR disaster.

Handling complaints via social media can be a minefield and with customers increasingly using this method to complain to travel organisations, it’s vital that companies understand the best methods of responding to them.

Here are our top tips to responding to complaints online.

  1. Are you listening? It’s so important to have the right listening tools in place to ensure you don’t miss a customer trying to connect.
  2. Timing is everything. A response must be issued quickly, an expectation when communicating online. This doesn’t necessarily mean a colleague monitoring your social channels 24/7 but it does mean letting customers know when you will be back online. This way, expectations can be managed.
  3. Don’t let it go too far. If a conversation isn’t moving anywhere positively and it doesn’t look as though it will get resolved, offer a phone number or personalised email address to the customer. Impose the three-response rule; after the third response in the public domain, take the conversation offline.
  4. Don’t be a robot. Your customer wants to be treated as an individual – acknowledge their frustration and be empathetic in your response. Use your name and their name in responses ensuring you clearly outline how you are going to fix the issue.
  5. Do not delete! Deleting or ignoring negative comments on social media will not make them go away. In fact, If you do delete or ignore, customers are far more likely to continue venting their frustration until they are acknowledged.

Why do you need to worry about all of this?
Answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%* so ensuring you have a strategy in place is essential.

If you would like to hear more about implementing a strategy or how you can improve your existing plan, ABTA is holding a number of training seminars which will be looking at this in more detail, as well as how to handle complaints both on and offline.

Find out more by looking at the event pages below.

Social Media in Travel
The Studio, Manchester
27 September

Complaints Handling Workshop
The Principal, Manchester
31 October

Managing Customer Complaints
ABTA Offices, London
7 December

*Convince and convert