The best form of customer service is getting it right the first time. But as we know, that doesn’t always happen. In doing training and consulting, I get to fly all over the world. And as unbelievable as it may be, when it comes to commercial travel, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Shocking…I know.

But on this particular occasion, I had to call Delta customer service to get an itinerary issue resolved. I called after hours and worked with a representative for about an hour.

At the end of that time, she informs me that she can’t solve the problem because it is after hours and that I need to call back during normal business hours. This, of course, would have been helpful to know an hour previously. I call the next day and the problem is resolved. Semi-happy customer.

Later that week, to my surprise, I receive a letter from the representative I spoke with first apologizing that she wasn’t able to resolve the issue and that she added a few thousand Skymiles to my account for my trouble. She certainly didn’t have to do that, but it was a nice touch. Was it enough to overcome the fact that my next Delta flight was cancelled, probably not, but at least it is a check mark on the positive side.

While interactions with customers may not always be perfect, it is important to have strategies in place for damage control. Considering the lifetime value of a customer, it is unbelievable to think that more companies don’t have customer recovery tactics in place.

In this case, Delta made a gesture of good faith with virtually zero cost. What about your business? What can you do that would be cost-effective if one of your customers has a less-than-desirable experience?


John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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