listen – laugh – love

A little taste of my Social Media love…

Don’t Be the L.A.S.T. to Respond

on June 12, 2014

When it comes to disgruntled customers, it’s always in your best interest to respond quickly and correctly! An example of a truly frustrated costumer comes to us from the Twitter page of British Airways. Sure, we’ve seen users send annoyed tweets to companies that they’ve had less than stellar interactions with – in fact, we’ve probably sent a few of those tweets ourselves! This situation is different – this customer was so angry that he purchased a promoted tweet! This tweet sat at the top of British Airways’ Twitter feed for all of their 300,000 followers to see!


One would think that British Airways would be quick to respond to such an occurrence; however, you’d be mistaken. It took British Airways nearly eight hours to respond to the tweet. It must have been a great tweet though, right? I mean, surely they spent eight solid hours figuring out the best way to use those 140 characters, right? Wrong! They simply said:

“Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 0900-1700 GMT.”

Apparently the situation did get resolved in the end and a British Airways spokesperson said:

“We would like to apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused. We have been in contact with the customer and the bad is due to be delivered today.”

Did British Airways handle the situation correctly? Not at all! When I worked in Guest Relations here at Walt Disney World, we used something called the L.A.S.T. model when navigating through tough guest situations. I think using this model would have been VERY helpful in this situation with British Airways!

  • Listen – acknowledge that you’ve received the tweet and respond in a timely manner. If your Twitter feed is only open during certain hours, post those hours clearly for your customers to see and to avoid confusion.
  • LAST-model2Apologize – use human conversation and relatable words to accept responsibility for the situation and offer your apologies. Even if you had nothing to do with the situation, the customer chose to come to you (whoever is monitoring the page) with their issue so now it’s YOUR issue too.
  • Solve – pretty simple, fix their issue. This may require you to let the customer know that you need more information or that you need to research the issue further – either way, let the customer know that you’re working on it. Once you have a solution, let the customer know privately AND acknowledge that you’ve reached an agreement publically.
  • Thank – always thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. They took time out of their busy day to reach out to you and they deserve to be thanked for their time.

Just because your handling customer service via online outlets doesn’t mean you get to slack off. Your customers deserve just as much of our time and energy online as they do in person. Remember to treat our online customer service situations just like you would handle in-person situations – with compassion, knowledge and sincerity.

Ta-ta for now!


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2 responses to “Don’t Be the L.A.S.T. to Respond

  1. Justin says:

    Great model. Thanks for sharing it. Did you consider the ethical implications of this case?

    • Hi Justin!

      Ethically speaking, I think that British Airways was in the wrong by not posting their social monitoring hours of operation. How would they have expected to be able to use their Twitter feed as a customer service tool if their customers didn’t know the appropriate times to reach their team? It was odd to me (not necessarily anything to do with ethics) that BA didn’t ask the user to direct message them with contact information first – they simply told him their operating hours. Weird choice if you ask me.

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