Last Sunday turned out to be a very different day to the one I was expecting this time last week. I had a late evening flight booked with BMI, leaving Berlin Tegel airport (TXL) just after 9pm to arrive at London Heathrow (LHR) just after 10pm, ready for a Monday back in the office. During the day I would probably have met up with friends and relaxed before packing my carry-on, and heading off to the airport.
As it was, I ended up watching England take on Scotland for the Calcutta Cup in the 6 Nations at Twickenham. Actually, that sentence needs a little rearranging. Let’s try it this way. As it was, I ended up at Twickenham watching England take on Scotland for the Calcutta Cup in the 6 Nations. And it was all thanks to BMI, and their embrace of social media as a great way to communicate to and interact with customers.
I’ve been a frequent BMI customer directly and indirectly (on BMI operated flights) for around 2 years and when I discovered they were on Twitter (@flybmi) I thought it could prove to be a useful source of flight information and added them to my follow list. I know that many people don’t really see the point of Twitter and think it a bit of waste of time, and that is to misunderstand just how useful it can be. It’s not a replacement for websites or call centers, it complements them and when used properly, like BMI use it, it can be a great tool for not only for providing information, but for interacting with your customers.
During the heavy snow before Christmas, @flybmi published flight updates and useful links as soon as they became available, and often before they appeared on the website, and I’ve fired countless questions and queries across the ether and received useful answers without having to resort to a call or email. Basically it’s enabled me as a customer to enjoy a much better relationship with a company who I use frequently, and surely that is what great customer service is all about.
So how did this lead to me ending up at Twickenham? Well, on Friday I spotted that @flybmi were running a caption competion to win tickets to the match. I don’t usually enter these kinds of things, but having taken a look a the picture, and with it being so easy to enter (just post the caption with a Twitter hashtag), I fired off a quick entry more for fun than anything else and didn’t think much more of it. I didn’t get round to checking Twitter again until later that eveing, and was surprised to discover that I had won. The only problem was that I was not due to arrive in the UK until some 7 hours after the game kicked off.
Cue a Saturday morning tweet exchange via Twitter Direct Messaging and @flybmi managed to transfer me to the 11.15am departure, due to arrive at LHR at 12:10. I would then need to get to Twickenham by 1.30pm to collect the tickets. Taking into account the time required to travel to the airport, collect my boarding card and so on, I had just 5 hours to travel the 585 or so miles (as the crow flies) between Tegel and Twickenham. If ever I needed a flight to be on time, this was the one.
To cut a long story short, my BMI flight left TXL early, and arrived at LHR early, and after a dash from there to Feltham rail station (with a detour to drop my bag at my car), and then on to Twickenham, arriving a few minutes after 1.30pm. It’s fair to say that BMI got me to the match in more ways than one, and it was all organised using Twitter! They even threw in Diamond Club lounge access at Twickenham, which my buddy and I made full use of before kick-off, at halftime, and after the final whistle went. So, was it worth the mad dash across Europe?
Oh yes! My thanks to @flybmi for the fantastic day, and for getting me there to enjoy it!
- BMI graciously provided VIP tickets for the match, including hospitality as a prize for the Twitter Caption Competition
- My flights and all other travel were paid for by myself
- I have no connection to BMI except as a regular customer
- BMI have not asked me to participate in any PR activities relating to this event
- This post and any associated tweets are entirely down to me, and not endorsed, edited or requested by BMI