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Customer Policies are for Customers

I’m sitting in the new North Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport. My AirTran flight has been delayed 8 hours because the plane taking me to Florida couldn’t leave Ohio.

Sitting in the breast pocket of my sport coat is a $10 gift certificate for food in the terminal, just enough to offset the $7.95 I paid for 24 hours of WiFi service.

Sure, the food voucher is nice. I’m not sure if the $25 travel voucher that came with it is very enticing to future flights. But the real question is this…

Are they really appeasing customers in a way that makes customers believe they care or is there something more or different they could do?

Because of the delay I’ve already made a number of itinerary changes including missing out on a planned dinner with friends. $10 worth of free food doesn’t replace 2 hours with friends I haven’t seen in months. And money for food was the least of my worries. I budgeted far more than that for tonight’s dinner.

As for me, I would rather have free WiFi than a food voucher. $7.95 for 24 hours feels like a ripoff. I might be the only one who feels this way, but from where I sit there are 6 laptops open nearby, none with one of those cellphone type attachments.

Sure, food is the easy option for the airline, so easy they have the forms pre-printed and stacked underneath the counter. But doing what the customer wants is always the best option.

Are your policies designed so that the customer gets what she wants? Do you even ask? Or do you have a rote response for everything so preplanned that you don’t even care what the customer thinks?

It’s something worth pondering.

I’ve got 6.5 more hours till takeoff, I think I’ll ponder a while:-)


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