Internal Microblogging To Enhance Corporate Collaboration

20 Sep

In this week’s blog post, I’m going to talk about microblogging. You must think “God! Another tortuous word that only nerds use”. But I’m sure you are all familiar with Twitter and therefore already familiar with today’s topic! Let’s clarify with an example what exactly microblogging is and how useful it can be for businesses.

Airservices is a government-owned corporation responsible for the safe, secure and efficient management of the Australian airspace. To manage the air traffic operations, they provide the aviation industry with aeronautical data, telecommunications, navigation services and aviation rescue and fire fighting services.

The company in numbers:

  • 3900 employees
  • 950 air traffic controllers
  • 2 centres in Melbourne and Brisbane
  • 28 towers at international and regional airports
  • manage traffic operations for 80 million passengers and four million flights every year

As you can imagine, safety is the most important consideration for this company. To ensure the integrity of Australian’s air navigation system it is therefore critical that the firm communicate with its different stakeholders, including Air Traffic Control (ATC), engineers, technicians, firefighters, defense and other external service providers, smoothly, accurately and in a timely manner. At the moment, all of this communication occurs either via recorded phone calls or emails.

Phone calls are instantaneous but on the other hand, misunderstandings can easily happen in spoken language. Emails are detailed and easy to access later on, but might lack of timeliness. Furthermore, going through emails overload is time consuming and can lead to employees loosing focus, and missing out critical information.

To enhance corporate collaboration and make sure that information flows seamlessly, I would advise Airservices to implement a microblogging strategy.

What is microblogging?

Blogging, microblogging, web 2.0 tools, social media… It’s easy to get confused by all these technical terms, so I’m going to try to explain what makes microblogging so special.

Microblogging allows subscribers to broadcast short messages to other subscribers of the service. Microposts can be made public online and/or distributed to a private group of subscribers. The appeal of microblogging is both its immediacy and portability. Posts are quick to write (typically 140 – 200 characters) and instantly consumable by readers on a variety of computing devices, including cell phones. To summarize, you can think of microblogging as a digital newspaper, which updates itself in real time after every single new posting.

What might be the benefits of microblogging for Airservices?

  • Share latest updates instantaneously: Which is important for Airservices when they want to communicate about timely issues. For example, keep Air Traffic Control updated about service outage status.
  • Cut down email volume and redundancy inherent in email communication: The message only need to be posted once and it is broadcasted to all concerned people.
  • Information is easy to understand and precise: Because microposts are expressed in a short, informal format, employees need to go straight to the point and eliminate all unnecessary information.
  • Keep record of conversations: Airservices can easily access their conversation feeds online, instead of having to listen to a recorded phone conversation. Information is all the more easier to find as threads can be organized into categories, using hashtags.
  • Enhance overall company productivity through improving channels of communication.

Twitter is obviously the leading microblogging tool, however I would suggest Airservices to use Yammer as this tool is precisely designed for corporate collaboration and would probably be perceived as more secure regarding the disclosure of private information, since your Yammer network is only composed of people who share your company’s email address.

Some companies already managed to rip great benefits from the use of Yammer:

  • Suncorp – Overcame barriers to collaboration, providing instant connection for people, teams, informal networks, communities of practice and other shared interest groups.
  • Dachis Group – Dachis Group has woven Yammer into its daily workflow, allowing easy company-wide collaboration
  • Philz Coffee – Uses Yammer for internal business communication on the management network, and as a virtual office where Philz employees can connect to one another on the Community network

To wrap up I will just talk about some key points to bear in mind while implementing this microblogging strategy:

  • Define outcomes and benefits expected
  • Create clear microblogging guidelines
  • Train employees on how to use the tool
  • Create a microblogging policy

Can you think of some other tactics to implement this strategy? Do you think that some dangers can be related to the use of such technology?

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Airports’ Social Media Use Takes Off

14 Sep

As for any other services the consumers’ decision in their choice of airport  is based of course on the convenience of the location, on the number of destinations available or on airlines companies that operates here, but also on the level of awareness of the airport brand as well as from its word of mouth reputation. Airports are therefore as eligible as any other brands to use social media to:

  • Improve their customer services
  • Handle crisis
  • Build relationships
  • Increase commercial activity
  • Entertain and provide a positive and enjoyable experience to their customers

Here are 2 examples of how airports are successfully using social media to achieve one of the previously listed objectives:

San Francisco Airport – in partnership with Virgin Airlines – uses Foursquare to generate non-aeronautical revenue in its Terminal 2

Foursquare is a location-based social networking app that allows registered users to post their location at a venue (“check-in”) and connect with friends. Points are awarded for checking in at various venues and special badges can be collected when a specific objective has been unlocked (e.g. Check in 5 different beaches). San Francisco Airport created a Foursquare challenge for passengers travelling through Terminal 2, by encouraging  them to check in at different retailers of the Terminal to win unique badges and enjoy specific check-in offers.

How can this have a positive impact for the airport?

  • Customers entertainment and satisfaction: Passengers who often have to wait for a long time before embarking are provided with a fun and informative game that help them kill time and get information on the different retailers available in the Terminal.
  • Drive non-aeronautical revenues: Retailer specific check-in offers represent an incentive to purchase.

Foursquare added value is that users can connect their Foursquare accounts to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which can update when a check in is registered.  Each time someone does it, they announce to their friends on these social networks that they are at that particular retailer. They can even leave a comment about their experience in the shop to share with the community.

London Gatwick Airport uses Twitter to service their customers and handle their requests

LGW Twitter account is both used as passenger support, and as a means of contact with the airport. Twitter is obviously a useful tool to provide accurate and timely information about delayed or cancelled flights but also to respond to passengers enquiries or comments. Gatwick Airport excel in the latter matter by running  24/7 Twitter customer service support. Using the #askgatwick hashtag, customers can be sure that no matter what time of the day or night, Gatwick can respond and address immediately their enquiries. Thanks to this campaign the airport is the first UK airport to be listed as a trusted source of information.

Using Twitter as customer support might be seen as common but the real innovation with Gatwick Airport is that they display their Tweet feeds on a big screen in the middle of the airport , allowing customers to see both other passengers tweets that need attention and the airport’s responses and their timeliness.

I think LGW Airport could even go further and build stronger relationship with its customers on Twitter by providing passengers with duty-free special offers or touristic information of what to see in London. Any other ideas?

Here is a useful article with a lot of statistics and examples about the use of social media in airports: Airport world: Listening and Learning

I hope you will find my article helpful. Good luck with your assignment!

References:

4 (fun) ways airports can drive passenger engagement through the use of Foursquare

Airport world: Listening and Learning

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