In general, tweeting replies to customers is a very effective way for a business to maintain customer relationships.
However, US Airways “broke” this common belief.
After seeing this unbelievable tweet from US Airways, you will know that sometime it’s better to not tweet a response to a customer when the company is in a busy situation.
On April 14th, 2014, US Airways was tweeting replies to customers as a daily routine. It was pleasant to see some positive tweets from passengers, but when there were lengthy tarmac delays, to be sure, the comments were mostly negative. In order to sustain its good brand reputation, US Airways apologized to the customers who wrote negative comments to the company due to the delays.
US Airways responded to each passenger politely, until this conversation started…
After this tweet, US Airways tweeted an incredibly inappropriate photo to this passenger.
The tweet was being spread rapidly on social media, yet the worst part was that it took US Airways, this reputable brand, almost 60 minutes to pull down this tweet.
This was a tough task for both their PR and marketing department to deal with.
The airline apologized several hours later. US Airways spokesman Matt Miller told The New York Daily News that it was an error.
“It was an honest mistake. It was in an attempt to flag the tweet as inappropriate,” said Miller. “We captured it, flagged it as inappropriate, [but] unfortunately, the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer.”
“We are in the midst of reviewing our processes but for the most part we have an understanding of what happened and how to ensure how it won’t happen in the future,” he said.
In this digital world, it is easily to make an accidental copy and paste mistake; nevertheless, some mistakes just can’t be fixed. When I saw the news, I felt sorry for US Airways, but at the same time, I also believed that this error could have been avoided if they checked the tweet carefully before sending it out.
When passengers connect the word “carelessness” to an airplane company, the brand will definitely loss a lot of customers, no matter how good the brand reputation is.
Customers, for instance, may concern that perhaps one day their planes would land at wrong airports or even land on one of the five oceans.
I know this sounds like I’m exaggerating, but what I’m trying to say is that any inattention, especially an online mistake, may take a company years to fix it. (If you search” US Airways tweet” on Google’s images, you will still see the inappropriate photo all over the Internet.)
It is hard to build a brand reputation, but it is extremely easy to ruin it.
So, always look your contents carefully before you send a tweet.
Photography/ Fastcompany, BuzzFeed