If you recall, back in November Microsoft announced a new feature for Office 2010 that connects your social feeds directly to your Outlook. The first site to be integrated was Linked In. With this Linked In connection, you are able to see business connections, alerts, and messages. Microsoft has now turned their attention to Myspace and Facebook. In the coming months, you will be able to see your friends, their status updates, and browse through photos, right from your Outlook. This is Microsoft’s attempt at competing with Google’s Gmail and Google Buzz. Why switch to a new platform, when you can just integrate the networks your already using into your Outlook.
Personally, I would probably stick with the outlook integration, but I don’t mind Buzz. I think when it comes down to it, most people will do both.
-Zach Morton “The Uber Geek”
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Saturday, the crew of a Southwest Airlines flight, found out about the power of Social Media. The crew of the flight was forced to ask a heavyset passenger to exit the plane, saying he was “Too overweight to fly”. What they didn’t expect was that that passenger was Kevin Smith, the director of hillarious films such as Dogma, Clerks, and Chasing Amy. What they also didn’t account for was that Kevin has over 1.5 million Twitter followers, and was so ticked off, he wanted them all to know.
To quote some of his posts:
- “Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”
- “The @SouthwestAir Diet. How it works: you’re publicly shamed into a slimmer figure. Crying the weight right off has never been easier!”
- “Look how fat I am on your plane! Quick! Throw me off!’
Now, Southwest also has over 1 Million followers on Twitter, which they very wisely use for customer relations. They posted a Blog entry apologizing to Kevin, and admitted that the situation was handled poorly.
“Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank–as he’s been known to do when traveling on Southwest,” the airline’s blog entry explained. “He decided to change his plans and board an earlier flight to Burbank, which technically means flying standby…When the time came to board Mr. Smith, we had only a single seat available for him to occupy. Our pilots are responsible for the safety and comfort of all customers on the aircraft and therefore made the determination that Mr. Smith needed more than one seat to complete his flight. Our employees explained why the decision was made, accommodated Mr. Smith on a later flight, and issued him a $100 Southwest travel voucher for his inconvenience.”
Kevin then wrote a rebuttal on his blog, and the fight went on and on and is still a major trending topic on Twitter.
Now, how does this affect American Business? Social Media has completely changed the way we communicate. It’s everywhere. In America, I think most people would agree that we have seen a slow decline in Customer Service. (If you disagree with this, just visit a Burger King, or McDonalds and I am sure you will see things differently.) With the dawn of Social Media, communications have been boosted in speed and accessability. It used to be that if a person had a negative experience with a company, they would wait till they got home to post anything about it (and usually forgot about it by then). Now, with the increased popularity of sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz as well as them being as easy as clicking a button on your phone, negative experiences are magnified very quickly. This is great for the consumer, and ensures that companies want to do the right things, and give great customer service. However, all it takes is the opinion of one person with “Ocular Rectalitis” to cause issues. The best thing companies can do for themselves is to stay in the conversation, and treat their customers as best as they can. By “stay in the conversation” I mean make sure your involved in Social Media as well. If you keep as much Positive press out there as you can, it will help issues like that blow over. Of course they should treat their customers a best they can, after all, they can go somewhere else. And no one walks around with a follower count on their forehead.
-Zach Morton ”The Uber Geek”
P.S. I’m a Fat Guy, and I’m on Kevin Smith’s side. They should have handled that differently, and before he got on the plane if it was really an issue.