Unlike brands using social media for marketing alone, Air France has much more serious issues to manage. The company has to deal with weather patterns and flight interruptions, as well as security and safety matters. Even geopolitics can have an impact on Air France’s service.
For Marion Gasnier, Air France’s Social Media Analysts Team Manager, these issues are incredibly important to the company’s millions of clients.
“Whenever there’s a meteorological event, we need to be really reactive and understand what our clients need,” she says. “If there’s a storm and the client is lost, we have to tell them whether their flight will operate or not.”
Monthly online mentions
Air France has 150 advisors around the world, working in nine languages to help customers get where they need to go. French and English helplines operate 24/7, and with Air France being a premium brand, expectations for problem-solving are very high.
And expectations aren’t the only challenge. There’s also the enormous volume of correspondence. Customers reach out via a range of messaging platforms, and the company receives 8,000 to 10,000 messages each day, and 350,000 online mentions each month.
All of this customer engagement is a responsibility for Air France, but it’s also an opportunity to enhance the company’s products, services, and experiences.
By collecting and analyzing customer feedback, Air France can avoid future problems, and can provide the best possible experience for clients.
For a global company like Air France, staying on top of what customers are saying isn’t just a question of checking the company website and responding to an inbox.
“It’s one thing to reply to a customer request. That means we’re listening to what the customers say to us. But what about what they are saying about us, not to us?”
Nowadays, customers use different platforms to stay in touch and share experiences. Air France needs a multi-channel tool to help understand the full spectrum of these exchanges, and to give each exchange the attention it deserves.
How Air France uses social listening to provide great experiences
Social listening tools offer a great solution to the communication challenges and opportunities facing a global airline like Air France. With these tools, companies can manage greater volumes of customer interactions, and can analyze data quickly and accurately.
As Mathieu explains, “We decided to invest in a social listening tool to leverage online conversations and the customer voice efficiently.”
Air France doesn’t just use social data in its social media team, either. Instead, the company has embedded this technology across multiple business units.
“In just a few months, we’ve trained 93 users who work on 137 requests on a daily basis,” says Mathieu. “Customer voice is important across departments, so we involve customer experience, our press department, our operational control center, and our stations.”
This gives Air France access to real-time customer analysis, great campaign coordination, and the ability to detect emerging trends.
The airline industry has to stay prepared for trends and issues of all kinds, both positive and negative.
For example, when weather conditions cause flight delays during busy periods, this can generate a huge amount of negative traffic on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. That’s understandable - nothing is more frustrating than a delayed flight.
To respond to posts like these, Air France needs accurate analysis in real time.
As Marion explains, “We need to be really reactive and understand what our clients need, even on the other side of the globe. With social media, you can quickly understand this, and you can adapt your communication.”
Tracking these online interactions also helps Air France improve its customer experience at every level, including engaging with the company’s website or app.
For Air France, social listening isn’t just a way to identify customer problems: it’s also a great way to get a detailed overview of how its marketing campaigns are performing.
Air France publishes content in campaigns throughout the year, including via dozens of local markets. These campaigns generate a huge variety of reactions, and the company needs to be able to sort and analyze these comments and make it easier to respond to them.
This is where Radarly has been so helpful.
“Air France has been associated for years with technical innovation,” says Mathieu. “We decided to reconnect with this idea this year, and we were able to see the evolution of the share of voice related to topics like technology or startups.”
According to Mathieu, Radarly has made it easy to track the campaign in detail.
“No other tool can offer you those insights in real-time with that accuracy.”
Social listening tools let Air France track and understand exchanges between fans and customers in incredible detail.
With Radarly, Air France breaks down complex online information into quick, simple and compelling visual representations. “From a digital marketing point of view,” says Mathieu, “I personally love the way the topic wheel allows us to have instant insights on brand perception.”
This information doesn’t just help with problem solving, either: it also allows Air France to detect emerging trends and identify influencers who could be suitable for brand partnerships.
For Marion, this is very helpful.
“We use Radarly to analyze who's talking about certain subjects. We need to group our clients into influencer groups, because we have different kinds of influencers who are talking about us.”
“This way,” she says, “we can adapt our communication and our strategy towards them.”
For Air France, having access to Linkfluence’s great social listening tools is crucial when it comes to understanding and supporting customers.
Another key element in the mix? Having dedicated specialist support.
“Having a dedicated account manager from Linkfluence is a real key to success,” says Mathieu. “A tool is only half of the story. AI can be powerful, but an algorithm just does what it’s designed to do. Human analysts actually understand context, and have the whole picture in mind.”
Marion agrees. “Having a human analyst is really important to make sure that you understand the client the right way, and you offer the personalized attention they require.”
This human expertise can also help a company like Air France adapt to a changing world.
“Social media is evolving everyday, and it’s evolving with our clients,” says Marion. “We need to follow the way our clients use social media. For that, you need a good tool first, and then good analysts.”