What Can Higher Education Learn From Air France?

Multilingual customer service.


March 19, 2015
communicating on social media in a multilingual capacity is the future of higher education communications

Everyone is recruiting international students. It's a big part of the enterprise that is higher education. With an increasingly diverse global demographic of constituents, university marketing and communications teams should look to global brands for inspiration.

One of my favorite brand categories for social media communication is the airline industry. Airline Twitter runs the gamut from being great in some instances (e.g. @JetBlue) and being less than stellar in others (e.g @AmericanAir)*.

Living in London means that my airline Twitter observations now include several European-based airlines. Just like their US-based counterparts, some of the airlines on this side of the pond are much more conversational (and caring) in their social media presence.

For example, @AirFrance does a great job of successfully engaging with their customers in a variety of languages. It's actually quite impressive. When I first checked out the Air France Twitter account last month, I noticed that they were tweeting with customers in at least 5 languages.

A quick check of their Twitter replies this month and it looks like they are responding to customers in English, French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and German. Air France has a diverse array of customers who speak a variety of languages. Providing customer support in the language that a customer tweets is a great step towards truly global service/support.

Social media enables universities to reach a global audience. And, while it's true that sites/apps like Twitter aren't accessible in all countries, it is probably going to be de rigueur in the near future for schools to communicate using social platforms in a multilingual capacity.

Is your school communicating via social media in multiple languages?

*I would have mentioned @Ryanair in this post, but they probably would have charged me a fee to do so.


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