Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - 5 Hours 

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I love promises. They're my day job.

But everyday, I see company's who make promises in hope and keep them in fear. ( Yes it is all the marketer's fault)

With this in mind, I know many airlines are delusional about their promises. If it were up to me my promise would be 80% will leave on time, 70% will be delayed etc. and perhaps I'd throw in a rebate on your next flight for the long delays.

The thing is I know this is all an airline can do. If I want 100% no one could afford to fly.

The true cost of flying is the ticket price and the risk it may take longer than anyone hoped.

I'm not saying you are or anyone is wrong to be frustrated - there a lots of people out there who are not very good at their job - customer relations just has a quicker feedback loop.

You say they have the information - and your right. But consumer's also have the information that airlines make promises they can't keep. Don't I as a consumer have a responsibility to temper my expectation when I accept a promise knowing this and acknowledge that if I want to fly I have to pay more than $.

I'm not trying to apologise for the airlines (It would be great if they told the truth and made sure all staff were nice people). But, as the Southwest guy indicated they try. I just can't say the same for consumers.

@Scott - thank you for adding some color to the story of travel by air. I don't travel a lot, and I seem to have encountered a fair share of both - really good and service-oriented staff, and those who avoid looking you in the eyes. In may instances, I can tie that back into the company's culture or perceived culture...

@Marie - wondering if companies could partner with their employees instead of managing them. Of course, employees need to do their part, but what if they never get a chance because "this is the way we do things here"?

@Peter - it's the marketers' fault! All those promises... seriously, perhaps it's time to do away with "perfect" and encourage worthy, connective, interesting. We know nobody is perfect, and speaking for myself I can tell you that my expectations are fairly reasonable - getting to a destination when you promised you'd get me there is fairly accepted practice. We were all holding tickets paid for. Rolling your eyes when I approach the desk to inquire why the gate says one time when other passengers are telling me another (which ended up being true) and acting annoyed when I ask what alternatives I have is not exactly endearing, is it? Why not communicate better and more clearly? They have the information!

@Christi - we were just talking about Southwest with Paula Berg at the Inbound Marketing Summit last week. Thank you for the tip on mobile notifications. Glad to have given you reason to brainstorm more ideas. Thank you for joining the conversation.

Interesting post Valeria -

I can only speak on behalf of Southwest, and I'm not sure what carriers you used during your journey, but providing an outstanding Customer experience is the core of who we are. I can say that all of your ideas are fantastic, so fantastic that a few of them are in the works or already available on Southwest. Delays will happen, but anything we can do (like gate change text notification, checkin and flight schedules) to help ease the stress we consider!

I will share your concept of having our airport employees on some internal, yammer-like network. The current communication methods, I agree, are a bit dated.

Let me know if you have questions!


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  • Since 2006, Conversation Agent focuses on business, technology, digital culture, and human behavior. At Conversation Agent LLC, I help organizations and brands that want to build better experiences tell a new story.


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