If you’ve heard me deliver a presentation, you’ve probably heard me talk a little bit about Delta Airlines. I’m a Diamond Medallion flyer with them — the top tier in their SkyMiles frequent flyer program, as my career requires my posterior to be plopped into an airline seat in order to get to work.
You may have read my comments that I believe that Delta has really stepped it up in terms of the customer experience — everything from saying “thanks” to their humorous videos onboard that explain safety procedures.
But nothing…and I mean NOTHING…prepared me for what I experienced this morning in Los Angeles!
Today, I’m traveling to Cancun for a keynote presentation and a couple of days of R&R with my wife. I am flying today out of Vegas — and Tammy is departing from Indianapolis — and we are meeting up in Mexico. (Appreciative, I might add, of family members willing to watch dogs and take care of houses for a few days…) She connected this morning via Detroit, while my flight went from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, where I was to change planes for the flight to Cancun.
As a Diamond Medallion, Delta was kind enough to upgrade me for the flights…and, I was the third guy to deplane when my initial flight reached LAX. There, standing just outside the door of the aircraft, but inside the jetway, was a smiling man holding an iPad with my name on it.
My first thought was, “Oh no! I wonder if something has happened?” However, I next considered that he probably would not be smiling like that if he had bad news to relate to me. He introduced himself: “Mr. McKain, good morning! I am Frank…and I will be your elite service representative this morning. It will be my pleasure to drive you over to your gate to assist in your departure.” He then opened the door of the jetway adjacent to the door of the plane and motioned for me to follow!
We descended the steps of the jetway, and there on the tarmac was a beautiful, white Porsche Panamera! Frank put my bags in the trunk, and we started to drive right past the planes and over to the other terminal where Delta has gates at LAX.
I told Frank that this was highly unusual — and amazing! Frank responded, “Mr. McKain…Delta truly appreciates your business. And, it’s my privilege to thank you personally for being such a great customer.” He smiled broadly, “That helps me keep this job that I LOVE, you know!”
While Frank’s drive was short in duration, the impact he made will be lasting.
And, it taught me the one element critical to WOW-ING your customer: Do something unexpected!
The fact that I couldn’t imagine having someone from Delta meet my flight, thank me for my business, and drive me across the airport made an enormous impact. It strengthens the loyalty that I have towards them — and compels me to refer and recommend them to my friends who travel.
Does this have a financial impact? Research suggests that it does — but, here’s a bit of anecdotal proof. On this flight, I just changed the reservation I had for a trip I will most likely be making for a speech in Estonia from United to Delta.
Right now — think of just ONE thing that you could do for a top-tier customer that would be refreshing, unexpected, and appreciated.
And…to Delta Airlines and Frank Quesada…a sincere THANK YOU for an “Ultimate Customer Experience! ®”