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A Customer Complaint That Got Results

Sometimes a customer complaint is heard and addressed in a way that not only satisfies that particular customer, but also spares many others similar grief. It is a nice feeling when it is your complaint that gets such good results.

Regular readers of this blog know that earlier this month, my wife and I got an unpleasant surprise when we discovered the many flights we’d booked on JetBlue for our spring travel plans would not include the courtesies extended to members of the airline’s TrueBlue Mosaic program. Though we both held Mosaic status when the flights were booked, we were dropped from the program on January 1, though we did not discover this until a few days later.

As I wrote at the time, for a company that emails its frequent fliers so often, it did not seem too much to ask for an alert that we were at risk of being downgraded in the coming year. Had we known, we could have bought the extra points necessary to bring us up to par - an option no longer available after December 31.

After I published my account, including my resolution to direct my travel business to other airlines whenever possible, JetBlue reached out. My wife and I heard from Scott Resnick, the director of loyalty marketing for the company, who said he had read my post. He thanked us for our previous loyalty and apologized for our bad experience.

More important than the apology, though, he took steps on the airline’s behalf to make things right. JetBlue restored our Mosaic status for 2016, and Resnick told us that his team was already working on providing clear and direct email notifications for Mosaic members near the end of the year so they will not be caught off-guard the way we were.

In the past, I have written about some of the ways JetBlue earned its place on my list of favorite airlines, from small amenities like the way it handles snacks to bigger policies like its dedication to not overbooking flights. But those choices alone would not have been enough to keep my business in the wake of what I felt to be unjust treatment.

It is wrong to sell tickets to customers who expect one level of service but then to provide a lesser level. The burden is on the airline to make sure travelers know what they can expect before they book, not after. It was not losing my status that alienated me; it was buying tickets that were unexpectedly subject to additional fees for checked baggage and flight changes, and which no longer included the early boarding privileges that I expected to receive since I was a Mosaic member when I booked those flights.

JetBlue’s eventual response to my blog sets a good example for companies - and especially other airlines - that hear from unhappy customers, whether through a blog, a tweet or an old-fashioned phone call. Extend a courteous ear, identify where you can do better and make things right, not only for that customer but for all customers in such situations, where possible. At least try to acknowledge when complaining customers raise a valid point and prevent the situation from recurring.

While it is nice to have our Mosaic status back, I take much greater pleasure in knowing that JetBlue has said it will send email reminders to its frequent fliers about their status near the end of the year going forward. That was the right answer, and it shows that paying more than lip service to customer satisfaction really can keep loyal customers loyal.

I appreciate that JetBlue went out of its way to earn back our business and to apply the lessons from our experience. As a result, I am happy to take them off my personal “no fly” list once again.

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