Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Customer Experience in Action: JetBlue, Doing It Right.

In this era of the more empowered customer, it seems we hear a lot of negative stories about customer experiences, but there are some companies out there that are taking customer feedback and truly rising to the challenge, providing a customer experience that delivers on brand promises on all levels, from digital to in-person.

Personally, working for one of the largest providers of trade conferences, expositions, and  networking experiences in America, I spend a lot of time traveling to different conferences. On my most recent trip I was sitting in the airport with a little time to kill and working on the upcoming Total Customer Experience Leader's event, and I couldn't help but think that my airline on that day, JetBlue, really has customer experience down to a science.

First, booking your trip and getting to the airport: JetBlue has a newly relaunched iPhone app (pictured above, right) and mobile website that provides both an easy way to book your flight and pertinent information for the day of your travel. The app provides local weather information, baggage policy, options for sending a friend directions for airport pickup or even help with looking up a local car service. You can even browse the DIRECTV® offerings for your flight within the app. Now, there is one thing that's missing here, mobile check-in ability, but overall it is a brilliant application that left me feeling delighted with the small touches.

Regarding the new mobile developments, Michael Stromer, vice president of customer connections at JetBlue, Forrest Hills, NY was quoted in this article as saying “The initial mission behind JetBlue is to bring humanity back to air travel, and we are trying to do that with these initiatives.”

Indeed, the brand has done a good job at maintaining this "human" touch off-line as well. When I sat in the airport lounge at JFK's Terminal 5 to grab a snack, I was pleasantly surprised by a personal-feeling note (pictured left) from management OTG on the menu about their dedication to customer experience.

The trend continues at the gate as well, with clear signage showing flight status and destination weather. Ample seating and plenty of places to plug in complete the experience.

But perhaps it's not how they are at their best that is telling of a company's approach to customer experience, but instead how they react when faced with a challenge. Luckily or unluckily, I had the chance to experience that as well on this particular trip. As we were waiting at the gate, an announcement was made that the plane we had been assigned for the flight did not have functioning DIRECTV® service. This was a disappointment to some travelers for sure, but by the next morning I had an email in my inbox from JetBlue apologizing for the incident and rewarding me with a loyalty credit. The email read:
"We‘re sorry that DIRECTV® service didn’t work during your flight—we know this is one of the many reasons our customers choose to fly with JetBlue. Please accept our sincere apologies and this flight credit for the inconvenience you recently experienced with us."
I couldn't help but think that this is how the "empowered customer" is expecting to be treated. Acknowledgement and an apology like that actually left me feeling better about the trip then if I had taken a neutral, expected flight.

Have you had lived through any customer experience success stories lately? E-mail me at mleblanc@iirusa.com if you'd like to publish one here as a guest blog.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

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