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.
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