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United Airlines is taking more steps beyond free drinks to improve customers service. Journalist Brian Sumers reports that the airline started a new program on November 2 that allows airport agents to distribute electronic goodwill certificates of up to $125 to customers who have minor complaints, such as in response to another employee who was rude to the customer, to thank a customer who helped a United employee or as a reward for a customer who was willing to stay at the airport for a checked bag that arrived late.

United still recommends unhappy passengers contact the customer care division for larger issues, such as flight delays or damaged luggage, but ultimately, the airline has left the limits of certificate distribution up to the agents for use wherever they see fit.

United is now allowing airport agents to issue up to $125 certificates to customers with minor complaints.
United is now allowing airport agents to issue up to $125 certificates to customers with minor complaints.

Customers who are more loyal and profitable to the airline will receive additional compensation. Business and first class customers, as well Global Services and Premier 1K elites – United’s top-two frequent flyer elite levels – may receive up to $125. The airline’s Premier Platinum and Premier Gold members can receive between $50 and $100. Finally, regular customers who are seated in economy can receive up to $50.

United has been trying to deploy strategies to fix its ongoing customer satisfaction issues. In October, the airline’s newly appointed CEO, Oscar Munoz, created a website solely for customers to provide feedback. (However, later that month, Munoz had to step down following a heart attack, and Brett J. Hart was announced as acting CEO.) With free drinks, the new website and this new compensation initiative, United is certainly pushing to improve its service reputation.

H/T: Brian Sumers

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