I travel on a very-frequent basis to support Konica Minolta. I am a road warrior by definition and have all the credentials to prove it: Global Status on United Airlines and Platinum Elite with Marriott. In order to achieve and maintain this status level, I travel anywhere between 150-200K miles per year with United Airlines and stay 75+ nights with Marriott. But this has nothing and everything to do with this article!
On a recent and rare vacation with my family to Hawaii, the typical delays due to weather and airport construction in San Francisco caused my sons to miss their connection. Their flight from San Diego to San Francisco was delayed until 9:19 a.m. They had a scheduled flight to Kona at 9:30 a.m. Since it seemed they wouldn’t make the flight to Hawaii, I worked with the gate agent to book them on a later flight, as this was the best alternative available.
Their flight from San Diego arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule and they were able to make it to the gate but the door was closing. For those of you who travel, the dreaded words you do not want to hear are, “The door is closed” because this translates to “you are on the next flight.” Just as the door was closing, my son called and said he was standing outside the gate. I immediately got out of my seat, ran to the door and asked the flight attendant to assist. The flight attendant pushed the door open as it was closing and asked the gate agent to hold the flight because they had open seats to accommodate the passengers waiting to board. The gate agent said there was nothing she could do and they had made arrangement for my sons on the next flight. The easy answer for the flight attendant was to say he tried. But, rather than giving up, he held the door and contacted the captain. The captain immediately held the flight so my sons could board. The fact of the matter was the flight attendant took action to satisfy a customer, a very loyal customer! He was not aware that I was Global Services nor was the captain. The focus was solely on customer satisfaction and doing the right thing for a customer.
It may not seem like a big deal, but the reality is that it was to my family and me. A simple gesture and putting the customer first was the right decision.
Now back to the status levels and the consequence of making bad decisions! This was a great situation where compliancy and the status quo could prevail without regard for the customer or the impact on their personal situation. Instead, Captain Chris Johnson, flight attendants Gino De Leon and Charles Leslie took action that will have a lasting impression on me and my personal experience with United Airlines.
We make decisions every day that impact our customers. This is a great example of how we want our customers to talk about their experience with Konica Minolta!
Join the conversation @SamErrigo #CX #bestpractices