A number of companies have adopted Twitter as a way to keep in touch with their customers. One of the more famous (that I've personally used, natch) is @ComcastCares -- a Twitter account staffed by Frank Eliason and several other Comcast employees, all of whom should get a raise for the amount of good they do for that company. Now, Comcast has a lot of unhappy customers, so any route for direct feedback is useful -- and the company uses that Twitter account very well.
On the other hand, Southwest Airlines prides itself on happy customers and on giving excellent customer service. I've flown Southwest dozens of times over the past few years and I've never had a truly poor experience -- at least not like some of the disasters I've seen from Comcast. So, it wouldn't seem like a Southwest Airlines Twitter account would be that useful.
However, over the past week, the Southwest Twitter account has twice sent alerts about airport-wide flight delays -- something that the company would do well to keep up with. On December 3rd, SWA wrote "Flying out of MDW tonight? Check your flight status, a few delays due to de-icing. brrrr..... 30 mins. on average. Winter WX is upon us".
MDW is the three-letter airport code for Chicago's Midway airport. Were I flying through Midway that day, something I've done numerous times before, I would be sure to check my flight status (something I would probably do anyway, but it's a nice reminder).
This made me wonder about the other things that Twitter could be used for, and that I wish I could sign up for. Why must I go to individual airline websites to sign up for flight status notifications or weather updates? Why can't I build those into my Twitter account so I get notified when I'm at my computer or on my cell phone?
There's my free suggestion for Twitter. Come on @Ev, get building those partnerships and make this happen.
This story, "Southwest Uses Twitter to Warn Flyers of Bad Weather" was originally published by thestandard.com.