Anticipating Needs and Paying Attention

Airline Guest Service

Are we really proactive in all of our service measures?

Dear Steven,

During your recent travel on Flight(s) #1794 and #1299 with us, you were unable to enjoy one of the perks of your tier status, priority check-in (automatic check-in 36 hours before your flight). This most likely led to you receiving a boarding position that was less typical than what you have come to expect as an A-List or A-List Preferred Member. We consider you one of our top Customers, and if you were impacted at all by this issue, we fully recognize the frustration and the inconvenience it may have caused. As a tangible apology, we will be adding 1,500 Rapid Rewards® points to your account, which will also count towards your 2018 tier qualification (A-List or A-List Preferred) if you have not yet qualified. The points will post to your account within the next 48 hours.

We value your friendship and loyalty, Steven. We look forward to welcoming you back onboard again soon.

Sincerely,

Your friends at Rapid Rewards

Did I bitch? Complain? Moan and woe?

Nope.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Yes, I did, but only to myself. I did not in any way tip off the good folks at “MY” airline that I was unhappy with them. And it appears that I didn’t have to.

Why?

Because they PAY ATTENTION.

Southwest … How do I luv thee?

They know when you’ve been sleeping … they know when you’re awake. Oops! Sorry, wrong time of year! But they know … they know. Even with thousands of flight legs every day of every week of every month of every year … they know when they screw up and when it makes their best customers, their top tier customers, unhappy.

And God forbid that should remain unnoticed and unchallenged. So they don’t wait. They don’t hesitate. They step up to the plate and offer you something that says … we know. And we care. And we LUV you.

IS IT ANY WONDER THAT I AM LOYAL TO SOUTHWEST AIRLINES?!

So, how about you? Do you love your top tier players? Do you not only take care of them, but more importantly, pay attention to them? Understand when they might be upset with you, or even angry? Like when you jerk their benefits back and forth, back and forth, from too much to too little and back to too much again (our database guru Nicole calls that the seesaw player rewards pendulum, and she has quite a cute graphic to illustrate it in her presentations).

Do you change things on them, make them jump through promotional hoops, stand them in the proverbial long line day after day while ignoring how it might make them feel?

Really, in the end, whether it comes to player development strategies aimed at your highest value players, or simple tier benefits and rewards offered to everyone appropriate to their level in your loyalty program, the most powerful thing that you can do is … PAY ATTENTION TO THEM.

Like Southwest does.

And we don’t.

Pay attention in ways that prove you are doing so as often as possible, in small ways and large, inexpensive or even at no cost, just letting them know that you pay attention … and you care.

Okay, forget the airline business for a moment. How about one from our side of the fence … the gambling business.

I often travel up to 2,000 miles away to work at a casino. While there I manage to play a bit, not much, just enough to qualify for one of their bounce-back coupons in the mail. And when I get home that is what I find, a letter full of platitudes and expressions of love and gratitude for my having joined their little family. Oh, and a $5 free play coupon good on my next visit, and it expires… IN TWO WEEKS! Well now, let’s just jump on a plane and travel 2,000 miles so we can get that coupon in action, eh?

Okay, I’m not suggesting that I am worth any more than a $5 offer, but that’s not the point. You see, I gave you a simple piece of information. I gave you my address, 2,000 miles away. And you demonstrated that you not only don’t know me, but also don’t PAY ATTENTION to me by sending an offer that is worthless (even though by your prose I saw that you seemed to be very excited about it).

How about something that says we know … and we care. Gee, Steve, we don’t know why you traveled 2,000 miles to join our little family, but we’re glad that you did, and the next time you come this way, here’s a coupon good for a half-off room night at our hotel. Okay, I may use it, I may not, but at least it tells me that you pay attention … and you care … by offering something useful, something significant, something … JUST FOR ME.

So look around your operation, your marketing tactics, your sales strategies, and most importantly, your customer service efforts. Are they perfunctory? Designed to follow a specific set of Policies and Procedures? Designed to drive efficiency and cost savings in your organization? Do they work for YOU, and not your player?

Or are they designed to tell your players every day, in every way, that you PAY ATTENTION to them. And you care. You know when they are happy; you know when they are sad. You know when you have let them down, and you’re there to make them glad … again! With you!

Because if you don’t, then they might as well go elsewhere tomorrow. After all … who’ll notice? Who’ll care?

Get busy and examine, change, add to, or innovate with a new way of doing business, one that says YES … we pay attention TO YOU! Because we don’t love our rules, policies and procedures … we LOVE YOU!

Hey, if Southwest can do it … why can’t you?

Steve Browne

Steve Browne