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Jet Blue this past week has joined the ranks of airlines who have had an operational melt-down with the results landing in a heap in their customers' laps. Unfortunate timing this is, too, since many families are traveling as it is mid-winter break for many schools.


Suffering cancelled flights, long lines of angry and disgruntled customers who have their lives interrupted, the question is, how will they respond?
The heart and soul of a company show up loud and clear in their responses to these situations. If I had the ear of the Jet Blue execs., here's 10 few things I'd pass along them to inform how they proceed:
Attitude/Approach:
1. Turn "recovery" into an opportunity that says to their customers "who else but Jet Blue" would respond this way.
2. Be humble. Jet Blue has the advantage that because of their service record and history, they are in good emotional stead with their customers. Admit that they made a mistake. And explain as much as possible, what happened.
3. Work from a position of "humanity" to connect with customers. Empathisize that they know that lives were severely interrupted. This is mid winter break for many families - again, empathisize and admit that they are seeing the pain customers have felt and are feeling pain because they have caused it.
Action:
4. Change the approach to the service desk in these emergencies. Get rid of the queue that angry and disgruntled customers have to stand in. Have roaming agents with laptops helping. Think about the approach, for example of Enterprise - "We take you there" - make it simpler and easier - don't make customers beg to get rebooked.
5. Proactively reach out to customers. This is not the time to cut back on staff. Contact customers actively, and have executives be a part of this process. They need to have the voice of the customer in their ear to inspire the right next steps.
6. Know who has been affected. Segment the customers to understand how much they fly. Make everyone 'whole' - but use this information to inform how much additional outreach should be done by customer segment.
7. Quickly - and I mean very quickly - give customers a reliable apology gesture. This can vary anywhere from a free ticket to other things - but don't make customers beg for this!
8. For all customers, turn the wait time into an event. Again, "Jet blue-itize" the experience of waiting around in the airport. Trolleys with food, activitities for the kids,etc.
9. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Find an active way in the media to be out there and communicate directly to customers about what is happening, where they can get help, and most importantly, what is being done to fix the situation.
10. Aggressively make the changes necessary to ensure that this does not happen again. Think Tylenol. Their response was immediate, impassioned, active, extensive and appropriate. They experienced a horrible situation for their brand, but because of their response have made an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of consumers throughout the world.
What else might you add?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne Bliss began her career at Lands’ End where she reported to founder Gary Comer and the company’s executive committee, ensuring that in the formative years of the organization, the company stayed focused on its core principles of customer and employee focus. She was the first leader of the Lands’ End Customer Experience. In addition to Lands’ End, she has served Allstate, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker Corporation and Mazda Corporations as its executive leading customer focus and customer experience. Jeanne has helped achieve 95% retention rates across 50,000 person organizations, harnessing businesses to work across their silos to deliver a united and deliberate experience customers (and employees) want to repeat. Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss (https://www.customerbliss.com), an international consulting business where she coaches executive leadership teams and customer leadership executives on how to put customer profitability at the center of their business, by getting past lip service; to operationally relevant, operationally executable plans and processes. Her clients include Johnson & Johnson, TD Ameritrade, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospitals, Bombardier Aircraft and many others. Her two best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. Her blog is https://www.ccocoach.com She is Co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. www.cxpa.org