When you hear the word “airline” what comes to mind first? Great experience, service oriented, pleasure, no hassle? Probably not. Well let me tell you, I just had a WOW experience with US AIRWAYS. That’s right, awesome customer service, exceptional, timely and all outside of what their normal policy is- an exception to the RULES!
Interesting, but when you make an exception to the rules it shows that someone understands and that even a big company is made up of real people just like you and me!
So here is the short version. We had plans for a trip to Mexico in May of 2009. You might recall this was in the early stages of the dreaded swine flu hysteria. Everyone was advised to not travel to Mexico and not at all if possible, especially with infants. So, the decision was made-no trip. The airlines understood and promoted that change fees would be waived. We cancelled and re-booked for November.
Well as luck would have it, and those with young children know, anything can happen and usually does at the wrong time! The morning of departure our little one called for Mommy at 4am. That happens from time to time but I knew it was bad when mommy returned to the bedroom and turned the lights on. Serious but not too serious and the trip was off.
Ok, still plenty of time to use the tickets. In case you do not know, most tickets need to be used and travel completed within a year of the date issue. Another trip was planned but this winter was a tough flu season and the February trip also went down.
Now the fun part. Our schedule did not permit a trip before the deadline so I made the call to the airline. A number of things impressed me and all were unexpected. First, my record in the airline computer showed all the details, trip changes, additional amounts paid each time because ticket prices changed (nothing you can do about that) and the deadline date for booking and travel completion. Second, the person on the other end of the line was very pleasant, understood the situation, understood their rules and procedure and made me feel they were on my side! Remember this point. Finally, the representative told me exactly what I needed to do and which department to send my email to.
When I ended that call I had hope, no promises but most importantly I felt good about the experience. You guessed it—my email was responded to and they gave us a full credit and another year to use the credit. They could have stayed within their policy and kept the $2,500. Instead they responded to the individual circumstance and created a raving fan. Wish us luck!
The point is… make sure you’re always creating the WOW (not OW) experience!
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.