The popularity of social networks and smart mobile devices makes it convenient for customers to complain about unsatisfied service experiences by posting messages online, which needs immediate attention from service providers. Since the airline industry is one of the industries with lowest customer satisfaction and some airlines have been trying to use social networks for customer service, we collected tweets from five major airlines' Twitter accounts to uncover the critical failure points complained by customers and to explore the missing links that cause the mismatches between airlines' strategic intent and customers' needs and expectations. Our findings revealed that customers' complains mainly center on unsatisfied primary needs in five broad categories: explicit services, supporting facilities, implicit services, facilitating goods, and facilitating information. The top three most complained broad categories are explicit services, supporting facilities, and facilitating information. In addition, we identified that customers' dissatisfaction is mainly due to the mismatch in three operation areas in the airline industry: (a) airlines' emphasis on cost financial performance doesn't match customers' expectation on best values, (b) airlines' focus on process-centered approach doesn't match customers' preferences on customer-centered approach, and (c) lack of information and unsynchronized communication doesn't meet customers' real time information and communication needs. Our findings can provide valuable insights for airline executives to improve their service operations.
Niu, Run H. and Fan, Ying
"Immediate Attention Please! What Matters To Customers Using A Social Network To Complain: Empirical Evidence From The Airline Industry,"
Journal of Business & Leadership: Research, Practice, and Teaching (2005-2012): Vol. 8
, Article 10.
Available at: https://scholars.fhsu.edu/jbl/vol8/iss1/10