We all know that feeling when you did something wrong as a kid (not me of course – – maybe my brother though!) and either mom or dad had to step in to course correct the situation. That memory was triggered when I read about how the Department of Transportation was stepping in to course correct poor customer service experiences by the airlines. Our U.S. Secretary of Transportation is calling on airline officials to raise the bar on their customer experience. Aspects of this include better clarity and transparency on why a flight has been delayed or cancelled, treatment of passengers when delays occur, etc.
Fun fact: In the first 6 months of the year, 24% of flights were delayed and nearly 5% were cancelled. Airlines bear most of the blame for over-scheduling flights while not having enough pilots to fly them. Then layer on poor communication and confusing rules on cash refunds and vouchers—it’s been messy to say the least. Mothers who were planning to visit their kids across the country or families with young ones were finding themselves in more of a “Hunger Games” experience of rebooking a flight, trying to find a hotel for the night, keeping their sanity, all with hopes to catch the next available flight.
As a business owner who takes immense pride in and prioritizes the customer (for us “client”) experience, I could not imagine clients of ours having poor experiences like this and me not doing everything in my power to fix it quickly so it didn’t continue. In our business, delivering bad news to a client that we cancelled or delayed their closing due to not having enough labor or for no reason at all and then expecting them to put their dream on hold to move into their home, is unfathomable to me. If I could, I’d overhaul so many aspects of the air travel experience to not only make it better than what has become the unacceptable “norm”, but I’d aim to make it actually enjoyable. Things like how you board, to the experience once you’re on the plane, to beverage and luggage and everything in between. A few weeks back I wrote about how customer experience is the differentiator for companies. Click here to read back.
Customer Experience is a brand in itself to capture customer loyalty…and no matter what industry you’re in sometimes a disruption can be a great way to rebrand and make a new first impression. Let’s hope the airlines take this government involvement and urging seriously and embrace the opportunity to reimagine this experience for millions of Americans every day.
Have a great and productive day!