Scott Carmichael Gogo social care

“Ten-minute responses are the gold standard,” says Scott Carmichael, Gogo’s senior manager for Social Media and Content. Image: Lim Kok Wee / Low Kian Tiong

APEX Insight: Scott Carmichael, Gogo’s senior manager for Social Media and Content, presented at this year’s APEX EXPO in Singapore on how the in-flight connectivity provider uses social media to respond to customers in less than 10 minutes – while they are at 35,000 feet.

Because Gogo-equipped airlines operate in-flight Wi-Fi at all hours of the day, across different time zones, the connectivity provider delivers round-the-clock customer service through its website’s live chat and on social media. While the company is active on 10 different social channels, it focuses its customer care efforts on Twitter and Facebook, which it uses to troubleshoot queries both in the air and on the ground.

“Social media has huge amplification; if someone is angry, everyone is going to see it. But if you do a good job, the amplification is also going to be huge,” explained Carmichael. “Reply to a customer three hours later, and there is a good chance they are in a hotel room fuming about your company. Ten-minute responses are the gold standard.” Last month, the team’s average response time was under eight minutes and five seconds.

Gogo Twitter

Rather than being content with conventional tech support, Carmichael encourages Gogo’s social care team to go above and beyond what is expected by offering both proactive support and post-interaction support. “Everyone on social media leaves insights into who they are. If you use that, then social media can be a fantastic opportunity. You can have fun with customers,” he said. For example, when an in-flight Wi-Fi customer vented by tweeting, “On a @Gogo connection so slow, it can’t support Morse Code,” a member of the social care team responded by Tweeting “sorry” in Morse Code. According to Carmichael, “All the tools in the world are useless unless you have the right people.”

But will bots become advanced enough to replace human social care teams? Carmichael thinks it’s possible: “The future of social customer care is already here – messenger tool bot technology is capable of multilingual natural language discussions, payment processing and more.”