by Earl LaChance
The recent headlines have chastised and criticized the airline industry for poor customer service and increased fees. American Airlines consistently surprises me with examples of good customer service:
On my return trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico from Miami, Florida, we were delayed by 3 hours because of mechanical problems on a Boeing 767. Which, by the way, is generally a good aircraft in my experience; the Airbus planes that AA uses seem to consistently exhibit mechanical problems and thus delays. I always try to avoid routes that use the Airbus. Anyways...
Having been Platinum or Gold American Airlines Advantage (their Frequent Flier program) for 12 years I am a "good traveler" in that I generally do not get stressed out or angry while dealing with the annoyances of air travel. 1.7 million miles will have this affect on you. Therefore I didn't worry to much of the delay and eventually arrived in Puerto Rico without further issue.
This morning, 2 weeks later, I received a pro-active e-mail from AA. I hadn't even contacted them nor did I file a complaint. The e-mail stated:
"May 29, 2008
Dear Mr. Lachance:
We are sorry| There is no question that the lengthy delay of your flight created inconvenience for you. Please know that we have great respect for our customers time and it is just as important to us to depart on time as it is to you. Safety will always take precedence over schedules but we will continue to work hard to keep flight delays to a minimum.
We'd like to offer some encouragement to fly with us again and 3,000 bonus miles have been deposited into your AAdvantage®. You will see the mileage in your account soon at http://www.aa.com/aadvantage.
Again, we apologize for disrupting your trip. We hope you will give us another chance to serve you better. We'll see you aboard.
B. J. Russell
The lesson here is in understanding your customer - proper segmentation and focus on the customers with the highest CLV, "Customer Lifetime Value". I can safely assume that they are making sure that the customers with the highest value are receiving the "Apology Communication" along with bonus miles which can be used towards free air travel.
A great way to maintain customer loyalty.