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Another Awesomely Awful Airline Customer Service Experience

Ah, Noreen.  You’re a rising star in the pantheon of nasty, foul-tempered, airline employees that ruin your employer’s brands, and destroy the value of their relationship networks every day. 

Bless the hardworking, smiling, go out of their way folks at JetBlue.  How do they do it?

Somewhere at Delta Airlines headquarters in Atlanta, a team of marketing experts are beating their MBA’s against the wall, trying to figure out how to improve customer service, increase NPS scores, and build valuable long-term relationships with uber-profitable customers (like me).  They know that the success of the airline lies in convincing me, and the rest of my last-minute purchasing, frequent-flying peers to choose Delta. 

And Noreen – you do realize we have a choice, right?

The last thing they want is for me to call my super-efficient and all around awesome travel coordinator – Danielle – and tell her I never, ever, no matter what, ever want to fly on Delta Airlines again. That’s the last thing they want, Noreen.  The last thing.

Guess what, Noreen?  I just made that call. 

Because you pulled your best and most officious, most obnoxious, you are a stupid passenger, attitude on me and my family tonight. 

And, Noreen, that call probably cost Delta Airlines $50,000 this year alone.  Let alone the profit they could have tapped into for rest of my working career. 

How much do you earn, Noreen?  Do you create so much value for Delta Airlines, that it was worth NOT taking 2 more of your precious minutes to be polite tonight, to help me get seat assignments for my wife and daughter, to not make me take apart our luggage to move 2 pounds of shampoo from my daughter’s bag to my wife’s, to not make me unpack two bags on the floor of the terminal in front of 200 people waiting to get their tickets?

Was it worth 2 minutes of your time not to infuriate and embarrass us?
Ya, I agree, Noreen, probably not.  You probably could have handled that a little bit better.  

And maybe, if they are paying attention, Noreen, those hardworking marketing teams in Atlanta will agree with me.  If they have any fortitude at all, they’ll simply fire you, because you are single handedly undoing everything they invest millions to achieve. 

But I get it, Noreen.  You don’t give a hoot who I am, or who any of us are in the long line of customers facing your ticket counter.  To you, we are all just a bunch of irritating, needy, pains in your carbuncle.

And, honestly, Noreen, why should you care, anyway?  You’re in the union.  You’ve been at Delta for 20 years.  You’re all set.  Fire you?  Ha!  Good luck with that, right Noreen?

Welcome to the club.  You have a lot of company in the worst-airline-employee –of-the-month club.  Belle, move over and make some room for another of your ilk.  I’m sure the two of you have a lot to complain about to each other.  Your jobs would be so much more tolerable if it weren’t for those damn customers…
I guess the best us poor customers, and your poor employers, can hope for is that you all hurry up and begin enjoying your well-deserved retirement.

PS - @delta, if you are paying attention, Noreen was working the Alaska Airlines’ First Class ticket counter at Boston Logan Terminal A, on January 24, 2014 at about 5:00pm.  At a minimum, she needs ‘retraining’ in dealing with customers.  Personally, I’d just take her off the line. You can’t afford having people with her attitude dealing with customers.

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More Stories By Kirby Wadsworth

Kirby is widely recognized throughout the storage industry for his expertise in marketing and business strategy.

A veteran of both startups and established storage vendors, Wadsworth was a founder of Storability and served as vice president of marketing prior to its sale to StorageTek. Earlier, as vice president and general manager of Compaq's Network Storage Services Business Unit, he envisioned and introduced Compaq's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA) which is still widely recognized today.

As vice president of marketing for Digital's Storage Business Unit, Wadsworth launched Digital's StorageWorks product line into the open systems marketplace, and led the creation and introduction of the Enterprise Storage Array product family.

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