Category Archives: Customer service

JetBlue Fallout

JetBlue is taking steps to restore its image in the wake of its scheduling implosion last week that left passengers stranded in airports for days and in some cases sitting in grounded planes for more than 10 hours at a time. A day after trotting out CEO David Neeleman to the New York Times (who said he was “humiliated and mortified” by the delays), the company plans to unveil today a customer “bill of rights” program and new operating procedures. A YouTube video from Neeleman is also front and center on JetBlue’s website – a good use of the medium to speak directly to customers.

For a company that has developed a loyal following despite its low-frills approach to flying, this is a critical juncture. It seems to be aware of the damage control it must do. Here’s Eric Brinker, JetBlue’s director of brand management and customer experience, quoted in the Poughkeepsie Journal discussing the new passenger bill of rights:

“We’ll be reaffirming ourselves as a leader in this industry. It’s something that’s going to hold JetBlue financially accountable to a much greater extent than airlines have today. It’s something that really forces us to do right by our customers.

The airline already has pledged full credits or refunds to passeners whose flights were cancelled. So far, so good. But the next few months – and the steps the company takes to fix its apparently deep-seated operational problems – will determine just how much equity JetBlue has built up with its customers.

More broadly, some observes are calling the JetBlue fiasco a tipping point for airline travel, as the blogosphere heats up with calls for legislation to protect travelers’ rights.  Before the JetBlue troubles, a real estate broker named Kate Hanni had formed the Coalition for a Passengers Bill of Rights and is collecting signatures on a petition to spur Congress to enact new legislation for airline travelers. The JetBlue incident will no doubt feed those efforts.

Another great example of the power of social media.

The Right Way To Do Customer Service

Last night, I cancelled my premium membership to TheLadders.com, an executive job site (since I’m not actively looking, I couldn’t justify the $30-per-month fee). Cancelling online was a breeze – one click to get to my account info, one click to cancel, plus a question or two on why I was bailing. No hard push to keep me on board, no making me call a customer-service rep for a cross-sell attempt, just a nice “thank you.” This morning I received an email acknowledgement from a community manager named Kathy Wu confirming the cancellation, with a bonus:

Just a head’s up. Your account was auto-renewed for another 4 weeks last Wednesday. Did you want those extra weeks or had intended to cancel before the renewal took place?

I replied that I did not want the extra four weeks and would they mind crediting my account. A few hours later I received this reply:

Hi Rob,
Thanks for getting back to me.
You’re all set! Please check your next American Express statement to see the $30 refund reflected. You’re now a free, Basic member and won’t be charged again unless you re-upgrade to our Premium level of service.
Best,
Kathy

Proactive, friendly customer service. No muss, no fuss. What a concept! I will certainly use their service again, and I will recommend TheLadders.com to my friends and colleagues. This is customer service done right.