Lessons from other industries: Airline customer service


Airline customers may rank their satisfaction pretty average, but going above and beyond has earned these companies miles.

By Liz Hochstedler
June 24, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

The airline industry may not be best known for its customer service. In fact, a report released Tuesday on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website showed airlines on average only receive 69 out of 100 points in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. But there are always exceptions to the rule.

A blog recently posted on Fast Company paints a different picture. The writer, Barbara Apple Sullivan, describes a recent experience she had with a Delta representative, where the employee helped her get home, despite the fact that she had lost her passport in a mailbox that couldn’t be accessed. As she tells it, the rep walked her through each step of the process to get her home in a timely manner, going above and beyond normal duties. She concludes that she’s even more likely to fly Delta because of that experience. (To read the blog, click here.)

Porter Airlines, in turn, impressed blogger Jane Philpott with its customer service. After her flight was canceled only hours before it was set to take off, she emailed the CEO of Porter, informing him of her dissatisfaction, as she was set to attend an important award ceremony that night. The CEO of the company called Phillpott on the phone, then investigated why the flight was canceled, called her again and booked her on an Air Canada flight. Did it make a big impact? She writes, “My satisfaction as a Porter customer should last for years.” (Click here to read her blog.)

The lesson to be learned is that going above and beyond when special circumstances arrive goes a long way in customer service. And, assuring that culture ruminates throughout a company means everyone from the dealership’s owner, to a salesperson, to a service tech, etc., knows when it’s time to step up and lend an extra hand to a customer in distress.


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