As a budding music critic, I need to prepare myself to receive and properly handle negative criticism. Not everyone is going to like what I say, but I would need to make sure that my reputation with the rest of my audience stays intact. Handling people on social media who have negative things to say about your brand or company can be very tricky. British Airways learned that the hard way when a follower on Twitter, who goes by the handle @HVSVN, sent them a negative tweet. This person went one step further by paying to have the tweet promoted, so more people than just his followers and the followers for British Airways would see it.
There are many ways to go about rectifying this issue, but not all of them are ethically sound. First of all, British Airways would need to ask this person what the problem is and apologize in advance for any stress that may have been caused. In the case of @HVSVN, whose real name is Hasan Syed, his bags were lost on a recent British Airways flight. If I were responding on behalf of British Airways, I may even apologize that his tweet was not answered until the next morning, but also kindly remind him that the hours of operation for British Airways’ Twitter account is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. as it states in the biography of the account.
I believe British Airways handled gathering his luggage information in an ethical manner, by asking that Syed send it to them via direct message on Twitter. Once the information was received, I would keep Syed up-to-date on any new information we acquired regarding the bag. Once the bag was located and shipped, I would have informed Syed of when he should expect his luggage to arrive at his address. A few days after the luggage was due to arrive, if I hadn’t heard from Syed, I would have followed up with him via Twitter to make sure the luggage had arrived safely. Then I would make sure that he knew that British Airways would do their best to make sure his bags were not lost next time he flies with us.
I also think that British Airways did the right thing by releasing a statement to the media. Specific details were left out, but the public was reassured of British Airways’ good reputation, if it was clouded by the negative tweet. This way the matter with the luggage was dealt with privately with Syed, but the public still got closure on the situation. What I would not do is offer Syed any more compensation other than the returned luggage. If others found out about extra compensation and were not offered the same thing if it happens to them or happened to them in the past, it could ruin British Airways’ reputation even more.
Hopefully my brand never has to deal with anything this difficult or public with any member of my audience. But if it does, I would handle it in a more timely manner than British Airways.