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Unforgettable Episode 18: Prepare to Walk Customers Out of Trouble Spots

Samantha Hausler
December 07, 2018

2 minute read

Unforgettable is a customer experience education program, focused on delivering fresh content weekly to give business leaders what they need to succeed in a customer-driven, digitally-disrupted world. The program brings together the expert minds of Jay Baer, Shep Hyken, Jeanne Bliss, and Ian Golding to spotlight modern customer experience excellence. Get the latest content by bookmarking smartercx.com/unforgettable.

In episode 18 of Unforgettable, Jeanne Bliss asks, “Do you have a customer rescue plan in place?” Using Alaska Airlines as an example, Jeanne talks about creating employee empowerment toolkits so that all employees are held accountable (and trusted) to help customers in need. Watch her latest video to find more inspiration from Alaska Airlines’ strategy that you can apply to your own:

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Hi I’m Jeanne Bliss, Customer Experience and Leadership Expert, bringing you episode 18 of Unforgettable, the show about great customer experiences. Today, let’s discuss digging customers out of service holes. There’s nothing like that panic that builds inside of us when our experience with a company is going downhill and we know our options are diminishing. We feel so alone at those times. This is our opportunity to give our customers the sense that we have them in those moments. It’s our opportunity to create customer rescue plans and that’s exactly why Alaska Airlines’ Empowerment Toolkit exists.

Everyone at Alaska Airlines is held accountable, given permission, and trusted to help a customer in need. Where other customers might give employees little leeway to act, Alaska moves in the other direction. Baggage handlers, the people at departures, your gate agent, flight crew, service reps at the airport, and all of those on the phone, are prepared for the vulnerable moments when humanity means the most.

Based on loose guidelines, and with support from a mobile app, people are trusted to customize with miles, money, restaurant vouchers, and fee waivers as gestures to proactively help customers and they’re able to give them out without asking anyone. Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s President and COO, gives everyone permission to ask. “Do what you think is right,” he says. We trust you, you’ll never get in trouble for making a decision and we don’t want you to call the supervisor.

For example, when customers are sometimes bumped and agree to be bumped from one flight to another, instead of setting compensation limits, employees are encouraged to make their best judgment call based on the situation and the best human response in that time. Think of all the ways that you can let your customers know that you’ve got their backs. How will you plan to rescue them in moments of hardship?

Samantha Hausler
Samantha Hausler is a bit obsessed over digital tech trends, coffee, travel, brunch, and reality TV. Samantha is a Marketing Strategist for Oracle CX with over 9 years of experience in the industry.
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