That Fine Line on Social Media: It’s All About Context

Oh crikey, an airline is setting the Twitter stream alight again and this time its British Airways.

They seemed to have been very responsive and when trying to solve a customer issue they asked for the customer to DM their name and details to progress the issue.

Sound pretty reasonable, right?

Oh no.. the passenger is Sachin Tendulkar.

You don’t know who Sashin Tendalker is?


Well this seems to be the problem for those fine folks at BA – who have had the audacity to ask his name.

As some of you may know (and I’m almost certain almost 100% of my American friends don’t); Sashin Tendalker is a cricketer.

Well more than a cricketer, more Indian cricketing god.

Or maybe if you read this story – simply considered a god.

ba sachin
Click on the image to see the Twitter conversation

Asking HIS name has created an uproar amongst Indian cricket fans, turning BA from caring, responsive, just trying to help a passenger out – into a social media buffoon (in the eyes of some).

Not so much him saying ‘do you know who I am?’ – but more an indignant fanbase saying ‘don’t you know who HE is?’.

It’s a great example of context in the customer experience.

A very standard, expected response from BA, wanting more details to progress an issue – if it were me, I’d respond in a heart beat and none of my twitter followers would bat an eyelid and it would be seen for what it is; social media customer care.

Maybe considering a cricketer a god is not your cultural context – but, on reflection it would not be that hard for BA to discover a bit more and treat this customer query differently based on this context.

But not just be circumspect about addressing someone that folks think is a god, but to help the transaction by finding his name – after all his twitter account (with his name) is verified. 

I suspect, like me, you don’t have fans that think of you as a god – but there is something here for all of us – don’t we all, sometimes have that ‘don’t you know who I am?’ customer experience?

Don’t we share enough with these people that they should know something. We all want to be treated within our own context.

When managing a customer experience; it’s all about using that context.


You can read more about this story on the BBC website

Badge image courtesy of  http://rebelbadges.co.uk/


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