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United Offers “Summer Customer Service Tips” in Employee Memo

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Think back to United’s IT disaster of July 8, which forced the airline to ground flights and inconvenience almost half a million passengers. You may recall that United didn’t handle it very well, releasing only a single terse statement: “We are recovering from a network connectivity issue this morning and restoring regular flight operations.”

What a difference a week makes. In a “leaked” (that is, written for and released to the public intentionally) employee memo, United seems to be taking customer service seriously now. Problem solved!

Here are some choice tidbits:

  • Seeing a welcoming face can help to ease a customer’s anxiety.
  • When making announcements, keep in mind what customers are thinking.
  • Using a customer’s name goes a long way in making someone feel appreciated instead of just the next person in line.
  • It’s important to always acknowledge a customer’s MileagePlus status and to deliver their earned benefits.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Here’s the thing — at around the same time the United glitch was happening, the New York Stock Exchange was having a bad computer day as well, and trading halted. Its customers were not only inconvenienced; they were terrified. And front-line employees are only as good as the information they are given.

Ultimately, the airline should work to improve communications between corporate and on-the-ground staff in times of crisis — even if they’re just waiting to reboot the computer. Putting a plan in place to deal with widespread irregular operations will help improve the customer experience without negatively impacting the bottom line.

H/T: Brian Sumers

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