By February 12, 2008 3 Comments Read More →

Something Nice About an Airline


After my last few complain-ey posts, you might be surprised to see something positive…. especially about an airline.

For all of my complaining about airlines, I actually have something NICE to say about American Airlines.

I discovered a new feature on their “AAdvantage” program customer service line when I called to get info about my flight on Friday. Once I registered for their new option, their system automatically recognizes that it’s me when I call from my cell phone. The result is convenience and time savings (and a reduction in frustration) for me as a customer… and it surely cost American $$ to implement this… my head is spinning, the idea that an airline is spending money to provide better service. My world is turned upside down!

In the old system, it was a “voice recognition” prompt, and by “recognition” I mean “not recognizing.” The system would ask for my AAdvantage number and it might take two or three tries to be understood, as I’d get the condescending “you seem to be having trouble” message (ah, how one computerized voice prompt summed up their attitude towards us customers). To find automated flight information took a few minutes and many prompts. I’d try to say what city I was departing from and the system would misunderstand me… I don’t think I mumble that badly, nor am I usually calling from the middle of a hurricane. The old voice prompt system was horrible.

So, in comparison, this new system is a dream. Sunday, I called in… “Hello… Mark” (it called me by name… somewhat personal in a very computerized impersonal way). It then went on to say something like, “If you are not calling about today’s flight that you are on, press 2.” and the system continued to read off my flight information for that afternoon. I didn’t have to press a single key.

It’s beautiful. The software/voice system works great. I assume there is some research that shows the most common reason for a customer call is for flight status. The system seems to follow the “Lean Solutions” idea of not wasting the customer’s time… I love it.

American Airlines, don’t say I don’t ever say anything nice about you.

Subscribe via RSS | Lean Blog Main Page | Podcast | Twitter @MarkGraban

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author’s copyright.


Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to receive posts via email.


Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please consider leaving a comment or sharing this post via social media.

Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

Posted in: Blog
Tags:

3 Comments on "Something Nice About an Airline"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. BobYokl says:

    Although you were a very happy customer I bet there are some happy Customer Service Reps that are happy that they don’t have to deal with calls for Flight Status only. When I fly, all the airlines have the flight status built right into their web sites and are easily read using a phone browser. Some even text you every hour with your flight status.

    Now if you can only get the people at the gate counters to actually pick up the Announce Microphone and let us know when a change in flight status or gate status occurs in a timely manner. I have been sitting for hours in so many airports with minor and major delays and the counter folks don’t say a word 90% of the time. My own airport in Philly my flight got canceled and it even disappeared from the fancy overhead board. I had to ask someone what had happened.

  2. J Thatcher says:

    This sounds like a really great feature all around, I just want to make a brief comment on the cost of implementation –
    It was probably close to nill.

    Basically they’re just hooking a database up to the caller id function on their voip phones (or non-voip, but it’d take about 30 seconds as opposed to 30 minutes).

    They probably tasked two in house developers on this and had it done in a day – or, at least, I hope they did.

    Here’s a question though – this should ease burden on call centers significantly, think there’ll be layoffs around the corner?

  3. Jennifer Eliuk says:

    Wow an improvement for the customers from an airline… truly shocking!

Post a Comment

CommentLuv badge