Archive for the ‘bad customer service’ Tag

Delta Skelter — Delta Airlines shows us how to NOT join the conversation.

Ok…Let me start by saying that I am currently 120 pages into Joseph Jaffe’s book Join the Conversation. I am trying frantically to finish it tonight (I’m a horribly slow reader) for my paper that is due on Monday morning. I highly recommend the book to anyone looking to help their organization remain relevant in a networked world.

With that being said, I have spent the last day wondering what exactly Joseph Jaffe’s Twitter avatar meant.
delta airlines, bad customer service
From the start, though, I knew it wasn’t good news for Delta. This intrigued me as I have already booked a flight on Delta for next Thursday. I am flying to Seattle with my wife to look for a house there. I am excited about the trip, but pretty skittish about the flight, now. When I finally got a chance to check out Jaffe’s blog, I found out what the avatar was about. I suggest giving it a read.

As illuminating as the post is about the failures of Delta’s customer service, the mistake that jumped out at me the most was the way Delta chose to respond to the blog post. Here is Delta’s comment:

Hi Joseph,

It’s Katie from the Delta Blog. My apologies for your experience.

You may have noticed when checking out our site that our Customer Care department has recently attempted to outline the most efficient processes to help resolve our customers travel complaints.

Nancy wrote one post on this topic a few weeks ago that comes to mind (it responds from a Delta perspective to an article by Joe Brancatelli at Portfolio):
http://blog.delta.com/2008/05/19/ten-tips-for-resolving-a-travel-complaint/

As she outlined, the first step is to email our Customer Care department so that they can address your situation and make it right:
http://www.delta.com/emailus/servlet/EmailUs?cmd=go

I hope this information is helpful. Let us know if you have any suggestions for future posts on this topic or others?
http://blog.delta.com/contact-us/

Best, 
Katie

That, in my mind, is the perfect example of how to NOT join the conversation.  To scold a customer for not following Delta’s preferred channels, no matter how cordially, is one thing, but did she not realize she was scolding Jaffe in front of the world?  What would have been wrong with engaging the conversation in a real way?  How about addressing the issue right there on the blog for all of the readers to see?  Is transparency too much to ask for from corporations?  

Someone might say that too much transparency would lead to people trying to “game” the system to get free flights.  In that case, I would say the real problem is Delta’s service.  Fix service issues and you will have no reason to give away flights.  Be honest and transparent when things do go wrong, and you will get PR and marketing that you just can’t buy.

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UPDATE

Here is another example of how command and control in communications is viewed by customers in a networked world (example via Twitter):