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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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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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