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                      Actions are golden

I received an apology from United Airlines this week in the form of an email from their President, Oscar Munoz. He explained how United had broken his trust with me when they forcibly removed a passenger from one of their planes.
What I liked about his apology is that he reminded me of Philip Crosby, the noted guru of quality management, in that he said United had been working urgently to find out how did this happen and how can they make sure it doesn’t happen again? So, rather than just an apology and flowery words, it sounds as if they are going to get to the root cause and change company policies and procedures.
This is a great start as I know those employees that were involved in the incident, both United Airline employees and airport law enforcement employees , did not make those policies and procedures, but they did follow the ones that were in place. How many times does this happen in your organization? The employees are following what they are told to do, but instead of becoming a hero for the organization, they become the goat.
Munoz also stated that United would be rolling out a new app for their employees that will enable them to provide on-the-spot goodwill gestures in the form of miles, travel credit and other amenities when a passenger experience misses the mark. Yes, this is service recovery, but it is empowering the front line employees to de-escalate the poor service experience before it blows out of control.
So, we will see if Mr. Munoz can accomplish his goal of having me say with pride, “I fly United.” It means he must win the hearts and minds of his    87,000 employees to create a new culture that is truly customer-focused and not just saying the words. Leaders can have the best of intentions, but people only pay attention to their actions.

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