Thursday, February 10, 2011

Step 3.2.c Aplogize to customers using the following script

After my flight was delayed recently, Delta sent me a questionaire.

From Innovation Bootcamp

Question 4b ("Did the gate agent apologize for the inconvenience caused by the flight delay") is not encouraging. The question suggests that the gate agent apology is being managed as part of a standard checklist. In which case it is no longer an apology, conveying genuine human emotion, but a corporate announcement.

I expect an analyst by now has downloaded the results of the survey and incorporate the results into a chart. I expect it would be a column chart, month by month, showing the percent of respondents who agreed that there had been an apology. A breakdown by airport would also be available in the appendix.

The title of the cart might be "12-month trend in apology completion rates" if the chart-maker has not been taught to put a "so-what" in the title. If the chart-maker is more advanced, the title of the chart might read, "Apology Education Initiative in Sept 2010 Improved Completion Rates 25%"

A truly sophisticated analysis would then look for root causes and drivers of variation, and look at variation by airport, by shift supervisor, by gate agent, by time of day, and by cause of the delay.

Once the root cause has been identified, (let's say the shift supervisor is the determining factor), a good document would have an action plan to improve apology compliance.

Then, to measure impact, the apology completion rate would be correlated to the overall satisfaction score, and the overall satisfaction score would be tied to likelihood to fly again within the quarter.

Finally, the impact would be sized: Improving apology compliance rates could be worth up to $__MM in FY 2011 revenues at a cost of $__K

Note to Delta: Don't bother apologizing. Focus your efforts on getting the planes off on time. If it is snowing and not your fault, I'm not going to blame you.

Second note to Delta: By the way, my overall experience with Delta on that flight wasn't "Poor" like I put on your survey. It was actually fine - I got a fair bit of work done while we were sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours. I just put "Poor" to see if you would follow up to see what you could have done better.

Separately, it is perhaps worth noting that my original flight on this day, a 6 a.m. flight on a Tuesday, was cancelled on Monday morning. They did indeed email me and had the computer call my phone to alert me, which was certainly helpful. Delta tried to rebook me on a 12:30 p.m. flight on Monday, the day before I wanted to fly, instead of the 7 a.m. Tuesday flight, which seems like the more obvious default.

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