Does every complaint matter on Twitter? @SouthwestAir says ‘yes!’

The airline responds to online complaints about its revamped rewards program, focusing on the critic’s ferocity rather than sphere of influence.

Twitter conventional wisdom says you should prioritize your organization’s responses to critics based on their clout and reach. The more followers someone has, the more important he or she is and, therefore, more worthy of a direct reply.

This week, Southwest Airlines bucked the conventional wisdom, and at least one expert says that was the right move.

Taking the unusual course was Christi McNeill, emerging media specialist with Southwest and one of the managers of the airline’s Twitter account, who says follower counts don’t necessarily factor in to her replies.

“Our strategy is every customer matters, every customer’s opinion matters,” she says.

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