Skip to main content

Digital Service Design

When I booked a flight via Twitter

by Philipp Brunner


Digitales Service Design

I made a mistake: I booked a flight prematurely. For 2 people. Half a year in advance. I underestimated how much our daughter would still be dependent on our presence every evening six months later. In short: I had to add a ticket to my booking at a later date. Easier said than done.

Helpdesk? No connection under this number

As a digital native and web-savvy person, the airline’s website was my first port of call. I have no problem with digital self-service processes; on the contrary, I like to take care of my own affairs and tasks.

However, booking an additional “half flight ticket” for a one-and-a-half-year-old makes things complicated. It would have been easy to buy an additional ticket to my booking online. However, there is no option to add a free ticket (without a seat, so only airport taxes and handling fee are payable) in the self-service area of the website.

Next thought: Pick up the phone the old-fashioned way and speak to someone at the helpdesk. I avoid it if I can help it. In this case, I saw no other option.

I tried to get through to the Airfrance helpdesk about four times. I tried it at different times of the day. I stayed on the line for 20 minutes. Without success. When I finally got someone on the phone, the call was cut off after four minutes. High potential for frustration, especially as a call to the call center is very time-consuming and bogs me down due to the long waiting times described above.

Finally, another flash of inspiration: Twitter! I visited the Air France profile and wrote a tweet with my request. I received the answer within a few minutes:

It’s Magic – one tweet gets the ball rolling

With that one tweet, I basically did all the work necessary to make the additional booking. As requested, I used a direct message (not publicly visible) to send my booking reference to Air France.

I was informed about all further steps on this very channel, about 3 hours after my initial tweet I had the additional ticket.
And all this while I was spending the evening with friends in a café. Without having to register anywhere or provide my payment details. They were already stored in the system from my initial booking.

We are more than just experts – our dedicated team of designers, developers and marketing specialists work hand in hand to take your digital presence to the next level.

Ready for the next step?
Contact us and find out more about our services.

svg+xml;charset=utf dmcgroup

At the end of the short process, which was handled via direct messages, the airline confirmed the booking of the ticket via Twitter and e-mail.

This experience made a lasting impression on me: a fine example of how service design and customer contact can work today. Low-threshold, personal, direct, super convenient. As a customer, I was not aware of the complexity of the process in the background.

It’s not called “earned media” for no reason

Simplicity & directness are definitely trends in service design: as simple as possible, via any channel that customers prefer.
Customer-centricity also means leaving the choice of means and media of communication to the customers and not restricting it to specific corporate channels.
Therefore, companies whose customer-centricity is more than just lip service must occupy and manage in real-time all those channels that are relevant to their customers: increasingly including messenger services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Signal. Even the good old SMS – essentially the mother of current messenger services – is far from obsolete. Common to these services is the simple, low-threshold form of contact as well as the direct, convenient communication with the company.

Behind the scenes, highly complex processes and the centralization of customer data are necessary to provide a seamless experience. Customers: are having no interest for these processes. For them, the result matters, along with a as pleasant and smooth a path as possible to get there. For this, there’s ultimately praise, free word-of-mouth marketing, and customer loyalty:

But the path to get there must be earned.

From the latest industry trends and the latest insights into AI and UX/UI design to exciting use cases.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and stay up to date!

Heading3 for SEO Hierarchy