Delta Has a Good Technique to Get rid of Worry and Get Folks Flying Once more: Instagram
Like all airlines, Delta is facing a very real, very big challenge. Most of the time, that’s because the vast majority of people just aren’t that interested right now in getting on a plane with 100 people they didn’t know for a few hours.
It turns out that traveling isn’t as bad as you might think, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t very different. For example, when I flew to New York City last month, I had no idea what to expect. Even as a fairly normal traveler in “normal” times, I was more scared of getting on a plane than ever before.
This is very natural considering that most people don’t like the “unknown”. We tend to avoid uncertainty as much as possible, and there are just too many variables out of our control in flying for most of us to take seemingly unnecessary risk during a pandemic.
If you’re Delta, that’s bad news. In fact, it’s very expensive bad news. As a result, the company has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle at the Atlantic Festival, Delta’s CEO made the cost of the airline’s business clear:
Today we fly with a load limit of 60 percent. That means that 40 percent of the seats we fly are deliberately left unoccupied and unsold. It’s not cheap. But the more important decision we make is that we have to put people above profits. And we know that instilling trust in our customers – as well as in our own employees – is the first task. This is our priority right now.
I would prefer people to remember Delta as the company that looked after them during the pandemic … customers decide who Delta is based on the values we issue.
This is all great, but the key here is “building trust”. None of this matters if people are too anxious or anxious to do business with your company. To that end, Delta has a brilliant strategy for delivering information to customers: Instagram. This morning I was looking through my feed when I came across the following post.
Tapping on it will reveal individual profiles for each of the different steps the company is taking to make the getting started process more secure. If you select one of these profiles, additional information is provided. For example, if you tap the Customer.Face.Masks profile, it explains:
For everyone’s safety, customers must wear a face-covering mask. Additional masks and care sets are available if required. Individuals with underlying medical conditions who are unable to wear a mask or face covering must complete a clearance-to-fly process prior to travel.
Think about it for a moment. Delta took the time to create a dozen Instagram profiles to better communicate with its followers. Sure, you can argue that Delta has a lot of resources and people to do this. That’s definitely true. But the thought behind it makes it effective for two reasons.
The first is that it helps create expectations. In this face mask example, a prospective traveler is given all of the information they need to know what is required of them. It even describes the process when a passenger has problems wearing a mask. (As a side note, Delta’s CEO says the company has already put 350 people on a no-fly list for refusing to wear masks.)
The second reason I find this so effective is because it’s not just about creating expectations for someone who has already decided to travel. In my article on my flight last month, I explained the steps the company is taking to do just that. In a statement, Delta said to me, “Our community management team has been very engaging and very responsive to customers to build trust and reduce fears.”
On the other hand, this should reach people who have not decided on a trip. It wasn’t on their website or in an email, it was on Instagram. Do you remember Instagram, the place where we all shared pictures of the cool places we visited on our trip? Delta clearly wants us to come back to why the fact that this content has been run there is so effective.
Meeting travelers with a sense of wanderlust where they are, Delta helps them better understand the company’s efforts to keep everyone safe. This in turn helps reduce anxiety and insecurity when traveling.
None of this is easy, especially now. And that doesn’t mean people will suddenly start buying airline tickets. However, this is a creative and interactive way to create expectations. In fact, I think it’s brilliant.
The opinions expressed by Inc.com columnists here are their own, not those of Inc.com.