Putting the customer first is a win for everyone, as United Airlines proves

united747This guest post was contributed by Clare Jeeves.

Airlines are usually at the mercy of our acid tongues when it all goes wrong and the flight is delayed. However it is a rare thing to read about when they get it right, and in United Airlines case when they go more than the extra mile for a passenger.

Kerry Drake’s mother was dying and he had to get back to Texas in time to say goodbye.

He knew his making his connection in Houston was going to be tight but he had no other option. Almost instantly his hopes were dashed as the first leg of his mammoth trip from San Francisco was delayed before he even took off. It became clear Mr Drake’s mother could well have passed away before he managed to get home and when they landed in Houston he was distraught.

However the pilot and crew at United had other ideas.

The pilot from the SF flight radioed ahead on landing to get the second United flight held for him. Mr Drake made the connecting flight, and more importantly was able to say farewell to his mother before she passed away.

Something as simple as listening to a customer and putting them first can have a profound impact on the customer experience. Not only this, but the reputation of the company itself is seen in a completely different perspective from both the customer’s point of view and the world at large.

Putting the customer first is literally a win-win for all concerned. And in United Airline’s case, reuniting a mother and son for a final farewell is a priceless customer experience moment that will resonate as a shining example for others to follow.

Clare Jeeves

Clare Jeeves is a Consulting Manager at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and specializes in financial and regulatory impacts across Financial Services and the customer experience.


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Categories: Customer Experience Management, Inspiration, Story

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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