ORLANDO, FL: JetBlue, the air carrier, is drawing on insights and data from its social customer service team to consistently find new ways of engaging consumers and build on its brand promise.

Marty St. George, svp/commercial at the company, discussed this subject while addressing the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida.

And he reported that Twitter, in particular, has become a "very important" customer service channel for the airline. Indeed, the organisation currently boasts nearly two million followers on this platform alone.

"If we were going to talk about a brand being 'human', we recognized social media was an amazing opportunity to actually connect with our customers," St. George added. (For more, including further details of the carrier's brand strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: JetBlue grounds campaigns in bookings, brands and buzz.)

Delving further into this theme, he revealed that the insights into the customer experience gathered via such interactions can help the firm enhance its offering to consumers.

"We have a 'Black Ops' group of people out in our Salt Lake City support centre continually trying to find a way to engage with customers and create better service. And they've created opportunities for us we never expected," said St. George.

An illustration of this idea concerns a specific problem raised by one passenger that had wider implications for company policy.

The individual concerned was carrying a fold-up bike in a suitcase, but JetBlue's official policy is to charge any passenger $100 to transport a bicycle – a stipulation made with the traditional two-wheeled variety in mind.

Having learned of the incident through Twitter, JetBlue examined the policy again, and rewrote it to recognise that fold-up bicycles constituted a separate category – as well as giving the customer their $100 back.

"These are the things that could be missteps in your daily delivery of [the] brand that you wouldn't even know about," said St. George.

"I hate the thought of losing my customer to the data testers, but when they find stuff that we're doing wrong, how can I not take advantage of it?"

Data sourced from Warc