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30 Sep 2016

Proactive Customer Service on social media:

Read how one of the busiest airports in Europe, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, has successfully embraced a proactive approach on social media and provide you with four best practice tips to get started.

 This blog is edited from a Dutch blog post written by Estelle Wienk and Levi Witbaard, Marketing Manager at OBI4wan published on Emerce.nl

 Proactive customer service on social media supports Schiphol’s vision

According to a 2015 analysis of 400 organizations with an active social media account in the Netherlands, Schiphol is the most proactive Dutch social media care account with over 25% of all social media conversations being proactive. Social media is an integral part of Schiphol’s vision to be “Europe’s preferred digital airport”, enabling them to engage with their passengers digitally on a personal level, while strengthening the airport’s reputation for exceptional customer service and for being a friendly stop-over destination for passengers.

A dedicated team of social media specialists working in the Customer Contact Center is key to delivering this. Through a collaboration between Schiphol Group and Arvato, the team of social media experts closely monitor all posts related to Schiphol. The team strives to make as many passengers as possible feel welcome by engaging in proactive, personalized and relevant conversations. The work has been a success: the number of interactions on social media has grown by over 250 per cent and over 25 million people were reached in 2015 alone.

“As an airport we find it important to make travelers feel at home with us. That’s why we want to reach out in a personal and proactive way”, explains Martje van de Kamp, social media advisor for Schiphol Group.

Getting started with proactive customer care: 4 practical tips

1. Be personal and relevant

Reviewing a customers’ public profile on a social media network and becoming familiar with things like tone of voice, interests and recent posts provide you with a better understanding of the person and can help tailor social responses.  Using the right information to start an authentic and relevant conversation is key to the success of a proactive approach

2. Choose your channel

Understanding the communication channel where a conversation takes place, is also an important factor. A response on a public tweet will be experienced differently than a response on a (public) post from a personal Instagram account. This is especially true for forums and review sites. These platforms are the users’ domain, where an organization can be viewed as an unwanted guest. For corporate forums (e.g. hosted and controlled by an organization) it’s more accepted for organizations to respond to questions and complaints. Engaging in a proactive way on a public forum will only be successful when you’re absolutely certain the receiver is open to contact, something that can be challenging to assess.

3. Determine if a response is desirable

Besides context and relevance, it’s crucial to determine whether there is even a need for interaction. Each message is shared from a different perspective. Not everyone wants or expects a response from the company account, so engaging in conversation can be perceived as intrusive.  First, determine what the customer wants by listening online to understand the scope, then engage in conversation. For example, when a customer demands a correct handling of a question or complaint. But also if the customer post has a more humorous tone to it. With the right information, a solid solution and a little creativity you can provide a positive interaction and outcome.

4. Full overview through online monitoring

Have you ever tried to engage in a conversation without knowing what the subject is? You need a complete overview of the situation, context and your conversation partner. Finding conversations to proactively engage with begins with listening to relevant messages about everything surrounding and concerning your brand. Don’t fixate on your brand name, but look for messages concerning your products, services, events and commercial campaigns

 What are your experiences?

Proactive customer care is still in its infancy for many organizations. In many cases it’s not consciously deployed as a part of social media or customer contact strategy. Do you have or know of any successful examples or experiences? Share them with us in the comments below.


You can read more on how proactive care and proactive engagements are essential part of social media customer contact strategy here.

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