Of marriage proposals and shitstorms
Who monitors Lufthansa's social media channels?
They're quick-witted and charming and satisfy the most unusual customer wishes. That includes researching for poems about crumbs or advising on the range of condoms on board (unfortunately, there aren't any) and at other times giving tips on how to avoid getting chocolate on your shirt (practice makes perfect). Who are we talking about? Our colleagues in Cape Town and Berlin who monitor the social media channels; hence, carry out research for their responses, patiently answer service requests regarding luggage and rebookings and politely respond to sometimes emotionally charged complaints. They face every shitstorm and love their job. That's why many of our customers love them – so much so that a colleague was recently asked by a follower whether she would like to marry him.
How do you explain your job to your friends?
Mandy: The social media team at Lufthansa in Touch monitors all comments and answers questions that are asked on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. We also answer questions in the Flyertalk and Vielfliegertreff (frequent flyer rendezvous) forums. In Berlin, we work from 6:00 to 20:00 Monday through Friday.
Nora: We in Cape Town take over at night and on weekends. We respond to every request within an hour – we at least tell people that we have to do some research before we can reply to their query.
What kind of training have your team members had?
Nora: We're a mixed bunch. Some of us have studied tourism management; others have a marketing or legal background.
Mandy: At both sites, everyone starts with general reservations, then looks after the Miles & More status customers, then HON Circle members. After that, you're ready for social media!
Nora: You acquire a broad range of knowledge working in the service centre. We get a lot of questions about flight bookings, luggage, Miles & More – that´s useful when you have to answer questions spontaneously. And whoever has been responsible for looking after our well-informed and demanding HONs has learned to how to handle people with tact and to find custom solutions.
How many questions do your teams answer?
Mandy: In July 2017, we handled a total of more than 25,000 posts, and wrote over 4,000 replies. In 2016, more than 400,000 posts across all channels were dealt with in Cape Town and Berlin.
What's the most fun? And what is the least?
Nora: In Cape Town we work when everyone else is free. The shift work we have to do also has disadvantages. But each one of us appreciates the variety because we can carry out research autonomously: on the phone, you either know the answer – or don´t.
Mandy: We enjoy being funny at times. Our conversations with customers can often be very amusing. Sometimes, they ask us for really absurd, comic things. One example that immediately comes to mind is the guest who asked the flight attendant on board whether Lufthansa had condoms for passengers in the on-board pharmacy. This question was answered with no, neither in the on-board pharmacy nor in the on-board shop. His question to us was: "Is Lufthansa planning to include them in its on-board portfolio?" Unfortunately no!
And what happens when customers sometimes get angry and aggressive?
Nora: This is, of course, less pleasant – especially if there was no specific reason, but they're just writing to get things off their chest. Handling written complaints, however, is a lot easier for us than complaints made over the phone. When you write, you can read through your answer again.
Mandy: We often think about all the funny things we would like to write, but, of course, we don't. Any annoyance soon vanishes when we´re forced to have a good laugh about it. And it's always a great feeling when we're able to help angry customers and they thank us.
Do you know any of your followers because they post very regularly?
Nora: Yes, we've grown really fond of some of them! For example, we gave someone Lufthansa towels as a wedding present. And we always send two people a #Fernprost greeting when they start the weekend.
Mandy: There's one follower who regularly asks quiz questions to various airlines. Whoever answers first receives a gift. When this happened to us, he gave us sunglasses and handed them over in person.
Lufthansa in Touch manages the following social media channels: