How Heathrow airport excels on Twitter

What it’s like handling the social presence of the busiest airport in Europe? Heathrow airport seems to understand how Twitter may boost customer experience, especially using real-time updates.

Heathrow is not just the busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic, but also the sixth busiest globally and this means that there is also an increased number of questions, complaints and social mentions. Twitter is an ideal platform to approach customers and improve the relationship with them, while it’s also very useful when responding to real-time requests.

That’s why Heathrow decided to use Twitter as a way to create a unique tone of voice, while helping travellers with all their questions, which led to an engagement boost and 373k followers.

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Heathrow is posting an average of two tweets daily for the updates and the links back to the site, but it is constantly using the platform to communicate with its audience, answering all questions from 7 am to 7 pm.

Its tweets are visually appealing, aiming to provide the right first impression for its visitors.

Using Twitter to improve engagement

Posting in a conversational tone

Heathrow airport seems to be determined to stand out on Twitter as more than just an airport providing real-time updates, and that’s why it is tweeting in a conversational tone, trying to personalise the content and make the travellers feel closer to it.

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It is not afraid to jump in a conversation and start a casual chat with a user and this is frequently appreciated.

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Replying to check ins

Heathrow tends to monitor the travellers’ check ins at the airport and welcomes them by sending a customised tweet, which occasionally leads to a conversation that strengthens the bonding between the airport and the user.

It’s probably not easy for such a busy airport to keep track of all the check ins taking place daily, but this enhances the brand awareness, but also the engagement opportunities with the travellers.

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Encouraging user-generated content

Every brand is seeking for any opportunity to obtain content submitted by users, the so-called user-generated content (UGC), as it’s the best way to prove its bonding with them.

This bonding becomes stronger when users decide to mention the brand on their own, as happened in the case below.

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Providing real-time customer service

A busy airport that wants to increase its engagement through Twitter understands the importance of keeping up with all the latest updates, as this is the best way to provide real-time customer service for any question, or complaint from impatient travellers.

In fact, it becomes even easier to increase the positive sentiment for the airport when the tone is appreciated by the users.

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You never know what to expect

As with every big brand, the customer service team is aware that any kind of tweet should be expected.

Here is an example of how social media has changed customer service, and what a traveller may tweet to an airport.

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When airport and airline join forces

Heathrow airport decided to jump in a tweet by KLM and be part of their Twitter quiz, as another way to show its casual side and enhance its branding among travellers.

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This also occurred with Heathrow and American Airlines when a user mentioned both of them in a tweet, leading into an engagement boost for the traveller with both the airport and the airline. heathrow9

Handling complaints

It is certainly expected for an airport’s customer service on Twitter to deal with complaints, and some of them may be very negative. It’s up to the team to try to be as helpful as possible and even to turn around the negative sentiment into a positive one, if possible.

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Posting creative replies

Users remember the brands that went beyond the expected reply and in the case of Heathrow, it’s not just about being helpful, but also about adopting a unique tone. The so-called brand recall can be achieved by ‘impressing’ travellers with creative replies, like the ones below.

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How one (positive) tweet may lead to more

Even one single tweet may be the spark for more positive ones, provided that a brand responds to it accordingly.

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What you can learn from Heathrow’s customer service

Heathrow airport is all about offering a great customer experience through Twitter for all the travellers mentioning it and its consistent and helpful content, along with the casual tone and the right use of images (and GIFs), make it a great example on the possibilities Twitter ,may offer in real-time requests, especially when addressing a big audience.

Interested in learning more about Heathrow’s social presence and how it tracks social ROI? Don’t miss Marc Ellam, Head of Passenger & Social Media and Digital Communications for Heathrow in Shift London on May 24th. Register today! 

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