“Together we fly.” That’s the philosophy that lifts Allegiant Air off the ground. Known for their low cost and à la carte service, this Las Vegas-based airline’s mission is to make travel more accessible. And as a direct sales company, being accessible on social media is a key part of their customer care and engagement strategy.
According to the 2021 Sprout Social Index, 31% of customers prefer to leave feedback on social media—and Allegiant’s social-dedicated Customer Relations team knows the importance of staying on top of customer comments.
We have drastically increased how many messages we’re replying to across platforms, especially on Facebook. And we’re servicing more customers even though our team has been consistently the same size. Alyssa Salazar
Customer Relations Manager
“Having social media allows us to respond to and help retain our customers, as well as build brand loyalty,” said Allegiant’s Customer Relations Manager Alyssa Salazar.
The airline industry has been hard-hit during the pandemic, with ticket sales dropping and customer needs skyrocketing. Since 2020, Sprout Social has helped Allegiant organize thousands of messages, collaborate more easily and focus on customer retention. Amid the pandemic, Sprout empowered Allegiant to continue to connect people.
Forwarding the gold (wings) standard of customer care with Instagram DMs
With around 15% of their customer inquiries coming through social, Allegiant’s team knows that a seamless customer care experience is crucial—to them and their customers.
Salazar manages a team of customer service agents who provide coverage seven days a week answering messages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The sharp increase in messages has meant an increased need for speed. In Q3 2019, the Customer Relations team responded to 8,185 messages across their social channels. In Q3 2021, that number nearly doubled to 14,490.
Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox helped them take off.
“We have drastically increased how many messages we’re replying to across platforms, especially on Facebook,” Salazar said. “And we’re servicing more customers even though our team has been consistently the same size.”
Having Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) in the Smart Inbox has also helped them, especially considering the fact that 35% of US consumers turn to Instagram for customer service. Salazar’s team used to answer Instagram messages natively on an iPad, limiting responsiveness and speed.
“Access to Instagram DMs has helped us tremendously,” Salazar said. “Our agents have all given us positive feedback about how this is pushing us forward, making our team more efficient and serving our customers faster.”
We have certain types of responses that we use for different questions. Tagging based on specific keywords clarifies what the issue or concern is about so we can quickly respond. Alyssa Salazar
Customer Relations Manager
Tagging to avoid turbulent teamwork
With hundreds of messages divided across agents, staying organized is crucial. On top of maintaining speed with pre-crafted answer templates, Allegiant Air uses Sprout’s robust internal tagging capabilities to identify duplicate messages, prioritize DMs and organize workflows.
“When the agents start their day, they remove any duplicate messages and start assigning messages to themselves to work on,” Salazar said.
Using a tagging system featuring rules built around keywords helps them quickly identify what a customer needs and how to respond.
“We have certain types of responses that we use for different questions, so tagging based on specific keywords clarifies what the issue or concern is about so we can quickly respond.”
Building brand loyalty with customers on the ground and 30,000 feet up
“We’re not necessarily an everyday type of product,” said Content Marketing Specialist Tiana Schenk. “But we want to be top-of-mind when someone books a trip, so that we can connect travelers to the people, places and memories that matter most.”
It’s tough to build brand loyalty when your product isn’t one you use every day. “COVID-19 has definitely shifted how we operate and function as a company overall,” Salazar said.
Staying on top of inquiries on social has helped Allegiant better communicate options available to customers based on company policies and other factors. In some cases, that means offering customers options that allow them to maintain their ticket for later use, while allowing the airline to maintain crucial sales.
Sprout is also integral to another piece of the brand loyalty puzzle—celebrating customers who celebrate Allegiant. Sourcing and sharing user-generated content has become a smoother, more collaborative process between the Content Marketing and Customer Relations teams by assigning tasks in Sprout.
“When folks on the Customer Relations team interact with customers or when we search for content to publish on our social channels, having the ability to simply assign a task over to the Content Marketing folks so that we can ask for the rights to use those photos is a seamless process,” Schenk said.
Sprout Social helps Allegiant Air keep customer service flying high
With Sprout Social, Allegiant Air stays steady. Using the Smart Inbox has made their customer relations strategy and team collaboration smoother, giving them more time to focus on nurturing their social channels and customer loyalty. Above all, they’ve found new ways to put the customer first by more quickly identifying their needs.Download PDF