Etihad Introduces Elite Only Twitter Account

While I love Etihad’s onboard product, the airline isn’t known for great customer service on the ground, be it at the airport, online, or by phone. The extent of their social media presence seems to be them responding to consumers and telling them to contact them via their social media email address, which they very selectively respond to.

Via B747-437B on FlyerTalk, it looks like Etihad has a new “premium” Twitter account, for their elite members — @EtihadPremium:

We’ve launched a Twitter Channel to better serve you! We value your loyalty and have created a new channel that delivers a range of benefits with you, our guest, in mind.

Etihad Guest Gold members can now follow us on www.twitter.com/EtihadPremium and enjoy the following exclusive benefits:

Five minute response times
Dedicated service
Retro mileage claims
Exclusive deals

To sign up, please:

Email us at socialmedia@etihad.ae with: a photocopy of your Etihad Guest Card, Date of Birth, Post Code, Twitter Handle.
Please allow 24 hours for review and verification.
Post-verification, our team will follow you on Twitter and send a confirmation email.
Follow us back at www.twitter.com/EtihadPremium

We look forward to welcoming you to our newest online destination, Etihad Premium.

Etihad-Premium

If well executed, that’s a really cool concept, in my opinion. The account is protected, though apparently the extent of their five minute response time is a bot which responds to you saying you should email them so they can look into whatever issue you’re having:

Please forward an email with all the details to this address socialmedia@etihad.ae and we will look into it for you.
Thank you.

That’s the same generic social media email address everyone gets, and presumably their responses won’t be much more impressive.

Bottom line

If done properly, this has the potential to be a pretty cool concept. While there are some airlines that provide great customer service via Twitter, there’s also a lot of “noise.” For the most part I don’t think airlines get as much benefit out of Twitter customer service as they could, since they’re so focused on metrics like response time and the percent of people they respond to, rather than the quality of their responses.

That being said, a dedicated Twitter channel for an airline’s top customers has the potential to be a great concept. It’s just that Etihad probably isn’t the airline to execute it.

What do you think about the concept of “elite only” Twitter customer service? Would you like to see other airlines offer something similar?

Comments

  1. Well, it is good idea since celebrity doesn’t want people see them shinning on Twitter. Then again, most of Eithad elite members may not use Twitter. (Except this people gain status from status match or cheap economy seats)

  2. Those were my thoughts initially too but the service actually is truly helpful! I had a problem selecting seats online which I contacted them about via Twitter messages, they asked for my phone number so a reservations agent could contact me and help me select my seats. I told them that I was unavailable for the next few hours so they asked me what seats I preferred and they would contact reservations to tell them. Within 10 minutes I received an email from reservations confirming my seat selection. I don’t know what more you would want in a situation like this? That’s definitely more service than their standard social media accounts provide…

  3. perfect timing…I just got my etihad gold status match 30 minutes ago!! (After applying over 2 months ago)

  4. I think this is an awesome idea, but i do agree with you. I doubt Etihad can pull this of. Off the top of my head, I think the only airline that could pull this off successfully is KLM. However I doubt they’d launch something so elitist, as KLM as a Dutch company is not of the same glitz-glamour-shiny-im-better-than-you-im-a-vip disposition. Still a great idea though.

  5. Etihad has a wonderful social media contact on Flyertalk. He/she responds to every posted complaint with a boilerplate “e-mail us”. If you do e-mail them, they are completely unhelpful, but it takes the complaint offline, which is the point.

    The advantage of social media is that everyone can see the issue and the solution, which reduces the number of individual cases that need to be dealt with. But clearly EY and some other companies don’t like letting the sun shine in.

  6. Well, KLM executes perfect social media customer service and there is no need to separate the elites from the common folk. Their response time are usually under the hour and they are quick to solve issues.

    I love KLM social media CS

  7. Some airlines do this already – they just don’t publicize it. A good friend of mine runs the digital advertising account of a major US airline, including working with the airline’s social media customer service team. They know who their elites are on Twitter, and tweets from those users are flagged and answered much quicker than tweets from non-elites.

    Now Lucky probably hasn’t noticed, but I bet Nick has. 🙂

  8. Data point
    I just sent email to Etihad with my status matched Gold # (no card scan) and they replied & followed me in 5 minutes!!! WOW…. still hoping for no future issue on my JFK-AUH though requiring a Tweet to them

  9. Having a dedicated twitter account for elite members is basically admitting that they do not provide proper service through their normal twitter. As other were mentioning they could just provide even superior “above-and-beyond” service for their elites via their normal account, but basically telling all non elites that they do not really care about their tweets is a different story.

  10. very interesting concept and should work well. Although to be honest, my Twitter experiences with BA have been nothing short of outstanding. If I have any issue, I DM them and usually within 5-10 mins it is sorted. If slightly more complicated than a few tweets, they call me and take me through security questions. AA have also been helpful and JetBlue were actually pretty impressive. I tend to use DM.

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