Due to a misunderstanding, at the last minute before takeoff an airline refused to allow a pair of special-needs passengers to fly. This upset the passengers deeply and stranded them at an unfamiliar airport.
No one should have been surprised that intense criticism of the airline spread rapidly via social media, portraying them as bad-guys even though the incident was (arguably) a one-time mistake by an isolated group of employees.
This wound up being a good thing, because:
The airline discovered this issue, apologized to the would-be passengers and their families, refunded their money, offered them additional free flights, and came up with a new process to keep the problem from recurring. All-in-all, the airline—our hometown favorite here in Seattle, Alaska Airlines—took a regrettable mistake, and did everything possible (considering it was after the fact) to make it right with those affected. In this way Alaska Airlines also earned positive PR by showing they’re the kind of company that owns up to their mistakes and jumps on an opportunity to do the right thing when they can.
> Read more about the “special needs passengers stranded by Alaska Airlines” incident
> Another great PR turnaround story: FedEx responds after delivery guy caught on video throwing computer equipment over a fence
This post isn’t about Alaska Airlines—it’s about the other guys
I’m pleased to see more and more stories about companies turning customer complaints into positive publicity. But this post is for the other guys, anyone who isn’t sure they have the right attitude, either individually or organizationally, to handle all customer criticism in a positive way.
Poster child for the other guys: Continue reading “How you benefit from customer comments you were pretty sure you didn’t want”