From pear-shaped to pizza party

Airlines might not be top of mind when it comes to great customer experiences, but this Delta Airlines story has a few key learnings for all businesses. 

After a Delta flight traveling from Boston to Rome was delayed several times and had to turn back an hour after taking off, the staff moved quickly to minimise the stress caused to their passengers. 

In addition to offering them a $6000 Mastercard gift voucher and fully refunding their tickets, the Delta staff arranged a pizza delivery for the passengers waiting for their next flight to depart. 

What Delta did right:

  1. Quickly identified the impact of the delay and did their best to minimise it by refunding passengers and offering them a generous gift voucher. They recognized the financial implications of a delayed flight on accommodation, care hire, rebooking, and the passenger’s time. 
  2. They acknowledged the issue and resolved it as quickly as possible.
  3. Went above what was expected and recognised that passengers were missing a meal on the plane and would be hungry. This may seem so simple, but they could see their passengers as humans with basic needs. Plus, who doesn’t love a pizza party? It beats plane food any day (in my opinion). 

Of course, this scenario is not an ideal situation for Delta or the passengers, but we can agree that they identified and acknowledged the pain points and worked to accommodate the needs of their passengers and create a positive customer experience. 

Service Recovery Paradox

The story above is a great example of the service delivery paradox, which is the phenomenon that a customer feels more loyal to a business after they’ve solved a problem with the service/product than if there had been no problem at all. 

Pear-shaped to pear pie?

We have to accept that things will go wrong in business and that you will have unhappy customers. The opportunity for businesses is to quickly identify the root of the problem and solve it using the best solution for your particular customer. 

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