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How To Miss A Customer Service Opportunity

  • Alyx 

By and large, airlines are not well-regarded for their customer service or customer experience. For every good story you can think of – you can probably also think of a dozen horror stories.

It’s easy, though, for most of us to reimagine how the airline customer experience could be improved, often in ways that have little to no cost to the airline. But are the airlines looking for ways to do this?

This recent exchange on Twitter between Delta Air Lines and the USA Curling Team – which had just taken a gold medal – is a prime example of a missed opportunity for the airline to deliver a top-notch and memorable experience, which would have very likely paid off in positive press and good will.

The airline rep in this case doesn’t even inquire as to the flight the team is on, and simply dismisses the inquiry with what nearly looks like a boilerplate response (“While we don’t have any upgrades to offer, we look forward to seeing you on board. Thanks for flying with us!” is basically what I would expect to get in response if I personally Tweeted to ask for some kind of upgrade for no reason.) Perhaps every flight back to the States was full in first and business class and they had no need to ask? I doubt it, though.

Still – if you knew you had gold medal winners on your flight – what could you do?

  • Inform your staff, who might wish to personally congratulate the team
  • Decorate the gate area with Olympic Gold themes
  • Make it fun for other passengers – set up a curling game at the gate or have a flight attendant push a faux curling stone down the plane’s aisle before reading those boring safety instructions
  • Hand out miniature commemorative curling stones bearing the Team USA gold medal date to other passengers, in-flight cookies shaped like curling stones, or something similar and fun

…and that’s just 60 seconds of me brainstorming ideas that could have generated positive coverage or social media posts from other passengers, creating a memorable and positive experience for everyone on the flight and everyone who heard about it from those passengers. You can probably think of many more small things that could be done with minimal budget and only welcome disruption.

Customer service doesn’t mean saying “yes” to everything, but customer experience can sometimes be improved for everyone if you can say “yes” creatively when an opportunity arises – and this looks like a missed one.