JetBlue to take your questions, complaints via text, Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you fly with JetBlue, you'll soon be able to call or text if you're running late or even tweet to alert them you are going to miss your flight.

Passengers will soon be able to ask questions or file complaints through text messages, Twitter, email, phone calls, or Facebook Messenger.

On Tuesday, JetBlue announced a partnership with San Francisco startup Gladly to overhaul its customer service system.

"The idea is to enable companies to know who you are as a customer, and have a single place where they can have all of your communications with them," Gladly CEO Joseph Ansanelli said.

The airline invested in Gladly and starting this fall will use their software to bring all forms of communication onto one platform that JetBlue customer service employees will use to streamline their process. Ansanelli says the email portion of the platform will roll out first, this fall, and then in 2018 the service will expand to include phone calls, texting and social media.

"Let's say you start with a conversation on Twitter, and then you pick up the phone to continue that conversation as we roll out to everyone inside of JetBlue, that history will be connected for the first time," Ansanelli said.

"If we can make our crew members available via any method possible, via the Gladly platform at the moment a customer needs it, then it helps destress and makes everybody's lives much easier," says President of JetBlue Technology Ventures, Bonny Simi, who hopes their new customer service strategy will take some of the stress out of travel. She explains having all communication forms on one screen simplifies the process for customers, "you don't have to repeat yourself, that's always the challenge. Currently, on all current platforms, you call and have to tell the same story again."

"Most customer service occurs in silos, there's the phone area, there's the e-chat area, there's the text area," Golden Gate University Consumer Psychologist Kit Yarrow said. Yarrow, says Gladly's approach is innovative and has potential to eliminate frustration on both the consumer and employee ends of customer service.

"They get to give the consumer a much more individualized, customized response and they also get to weed out people that are really misusing the system," Yarrow said. In the meantime, if you have a customer service inquiry, Yarrow recommends starting on the company's website and if you don't get a response, post on social media. "When they know that others are listening, sometimes that inspires a more immediate response."

This is a big deal because a recent study found good passenger experiences lead to higher stock returns for airlines.

The overhaul could even help JetBlue keep its edge as it has already ranked the best airline for customer service, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
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