If you’ve heard me speak at a conference, you’ve heard me tease Delta Airlines a little bit from time to time. However, I also try to make it clear that I really believe that Delta has stepped up their delivery of customer service, and I recognize that they have worked very hard to improve the experience that their passengers receive.
(As evidenced by my post after they picked me up in a Porsche at LAX!)
Perhaps that’s why their recent communication disappointed me a bit — and why we can all learn from a very basic lesson about serving the customer.
I had a red-eye from Las Vegas to Boston via Atlanta this week. After an overnight flight, a layover, and a crowded plane departing Atlanta, I was a little bit surprised to see my name so low on the list for an upgrade. However, I bought a seat in coach to save my client money — and I took my seat there for the trip.
After the flight, I received a message from Delta asking me to evaluate the flight…so, I did. Here’s what I wrote:
As a Diamond, I realize that it is a privilege to be upgraded, and not a right. And, this was the first flight this year that I’ve not had the privilege.
Obviously, this is a popular flight, as I was told that I was VERY far down on the upgrade list. What I would suggest, however, are a couple of things that might assist in securing even more loyalty from your most frequent travelers. First — I didn’t even receive a seat in Economy Comfort. It would seem as though Diamonds who aren’t upgraded could at least receive seating in that section.
Second — while I understand that you can’t have too many additional boarding groups, it would be greatly appreciated when there are evidently so many Diamonds who didn’t receive upgrades (as I was #19 or so on the list), to either allow us to board with First Class — or prior to other levels of flyers. (We are) flying 100K miles and spending $10K more with Delta at a minimum (and) to get pushed out of the way by someone flying much less frequently is not what you nor I would desire.
Thanks for this opportunity to provide feedback!
Here’s the response I received — and my commentary in bold italics:
“Thanks for your additional comments. Your email was forwarded to me for added attention. (GREAT – you’re giving me some added attention! What customer doesn’t like that?) We know upgrades are one of the best perks our Medallion members enjoy and it was upsetting to learn about all the difficulties you’ve had with upgrades this year, (WAIT — my message told you this was the FIRST time I’d had any trouble — there’s no need for it be “upsetting.”) and also to know that you continue to be disappointed with our service and the change to our loyalty program. (There is NOTHING in my message about “continuing” to be disappointed — and there’s NOTHING in there about my feelings about the change to their loyalty program! In fact…I LIKE their changes!)
Our goal is to provide consistent service to our passengers at all times and I can understand how not receiving complimentary upgrades as frequently as you would like or other passengers with lower status getting upgraded, is disappointing to you. (HUH? I flew overnight and someone who doesn’t fly as much or spend as much as me got upgraded? I never even thought of that until now!)
Your candid comments are appreciated and have been forwarded to the appropriate leadership teams. We will take your feedback into consideration when planning for the future. (REALLY? Why didn’t you really read them this time?)
We appreciate your Diamond Medallion and Million Miler status and hope we remain your airline of choice.
You Share, We Care
Obviously, neither Mr. Anthony nor anyone else at Delta actually READ my message. They assumed that because I said something about upgrades that “Form Letter #4” (or something like that) was the appropriate response.
I’ll continue to fly Delta — however, I hope that they…and all of us…can learn from this mistake. Perhaps even no response is better than one that clearly displays you aren’t paying attention. And, neither of those deliver an “Ultimate Customer Experience!”
You cannot adequately serve a customer when you fail to truly listen to and value their input.