JetBlue Leading Customer Experience
Since I used to lead the JetBlue customer experience, people often ask what is behind the JetBlue experience magic. Or, as one of our clients refers to it, the “JetBlue Simple.” So the fundamentals that went into creating that signature experience are often on my mind. Then, this week I found a Federal Government document that details a recommendation for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to become more customer-centric, and to offer a better experience to the American public. That’s when it all clicked in a way I want to share with you today. Because, whether you are part of a government organization, a member of the aviation industry, or work in another industry, the fundamentals I keep returning to will help simplify and improve your customer experiences.
The USDA recommendations include customer experience improvements across three categories: process improvements; technology improvements; and training and content improvements. These three pillars are the very backbone of The Petrova Experience. Like many organizations, USDA faces complexities related to designing customer experiences across these three pillars. I do not know if the USDA will implement any of the recommendations. But I do know an airline (another organization that deals with complexities and regulations on a daily basis) that has mastered all three customer experience drivers, and it shows. That airline is JetBlue Airways.
Bad processes are the root cause of bad customer experience. There is nothing worse than inefficient workflow as the standard operating procedure. Further, it is hard to change processes once they are codified and trained. Unless an organization commits to reviewing the experience from the inside out, the entrenched bad processes live forever.
In Bulgaria, for example, there is a process to get a call every time a consumer places an online order. Yes, you heard me! Bulgarian e-commerce companies are loading their operating costs by paying for transaction processing on two channels. We all know a phone call is the most expensive channel. But since this is the entrenched process, it is difficult to change.
Let’s look at an example closer to home for our US audience. Samsung has a process that gives customers money to fix a broken phone. That seems good, right? The problem is, Samsung only gives that money AFTER the phone is fixed. In other words, the process omits the step of providing a QUOTE to the customer that he/she can accept or reject.
JetBlue Customer Experience Puts the Passenger at the Center of Design
One reason JetBlue customer experience is great, is that we thought about individual passenger experience. Then we designed processes accordingly. The Bill of Customer Rights emerged from this thinking. The Bill of Customer Rights supports customers who are delayed or have cancellations due to controllable reasons.
When we were designing the user experience for the self check-in and self bag-drop experience, we deliberately asked for the PNR to start the journey. PNR is a unique, easy-to-find, 6 digit code. We did not ask for the ticket number like KLM did. Unlike the PNR, an airline ticket number is a hard-to-find, 16 digit number that is cumbersome to type. See, the “JetBlue Simple” experience only happens when customer-friendly processes support the technology.
To design seamless experiences, content is not king. Process is king!
Customer Experience Technology Improvements
So, how do process and technology connect to create better customer experiences? It starts at understanding and improving technology at the most basic level. The information collection phase is one of the most underused – and misunderstood – technology improvements of a transaction journey.
An intuitive pre-population of information serves both the employee and the customer equally. It eliminates typing errors, creates faster and easier experience for the customer, and yields satisfied customers. Yet, this feature is missing from too many digital experiences.
What is really surprising is that I used this technology tool 14 years ago in Keyspan Energy (now National Grid). The technology is not complicated. Basically, it involves connecting a few databases. Let’s take another look at JetBlue customer experience to see how we took this into account to improve technology.
When you go to the JetBlue app, the first screen is prepopulated. On it, you see your loyalty number and your latest points balance. In one click, you can access details of your next trip, including your reservation number. I used to think seamless access to this type of information was a given. Unfortunately, even this basic information is hard to find on other apps.
Human-Centered Technology Design Challenges
As we audit experiences across travel and other industries, a few other things surprise me, too. First, most airports do not think it is worthwhile to invest in apps. Second, on the whole, most apps provide the customer with INFORMATION only. In other words, these apps fail to enable the customer to DO anything with the app. Customers cannot make a transaction that has a personal value. They can’t purchase something the need on the go. Nor can they access customized, actionable information.
Make no mistake, not only the travel industry leaves human-centered app design opportunities on the table. Too many industries fail to utilize even basic technology. When The Petrova Experience dove into the fertility world this year on behalf of a client, we discovered many antiquated record keeping practices. Did you know processes across the cryo storage world are still done with pen and paper?
When I go to my dentist, even today, I sign in with pen and paper. And the office is on 5th Avenue! It’s not just healthcare, either. Real estate management companies are not investing in modern security systems, let alone using them to improve experiences in a post-COVID world.
JetBlue Customer Experience Technology Connects Passengers to Information
On the other hand, we built JetBlue’s customer experience with innovative technology. But, importantly, we also built it from the optimal use of that technology. This is an important point.
Anyone can install kiosks in a physical space (like most casino consultants in Las Vegas recommend). However, the magic happens when you design an experience that leverages the technology. The difference is throughput of 1M people a day with no queues vs. long lines after 7-hour cross-country flights because the kiosks “are not being used… due to a technical glitch.” It happened in Vegas… I won’t let it stay there.
JetBlue is a leader in customer experience. Because we never let a technology hurdle trump seamless and optimal customer experience design.
Training and Content Improvements: Lessons from JetBlue Customer Experience
Many organizations think they have training covered. Yes, most companies offer employee training. But remember, the devil is in the details. There are different types of training. And they are all important. One is technical training. This teaches employees how to resolve customer problems. It gives employees the tools they need to do their jobs.
Unfortunately, many organizations omit technical training like this. They may assume that hospitality and customer care are intuitive, or do not require specific training. However, customer-centricity and hospitality are intentional behaviors that need to be standardized and taught. Yes, some people are naturals at this. It seems like they are born knowing how to express care. However, all of us need a little help and guidance.
Add to that the complications that come from going international. This includes encountering different meanings of words and gestures. Did you know, in Turkish a “white lie” is called a “pink lie”? Details like this make a difference when it comes to training. Unfortunately, training is often one of the first costs to cut.
When designing JetBlue customer experiences, we new to invest in training. Initially, the airline lacked hospitality standards training for its two thousand flight attendants. To underscore the commitment to customer experience, JetBlue invested in training flight attendants and expanded training to all airports employees. The airline spent millions of dollars on initial and reoccurring training. And the impact was big!
Training Benefits Employees and Customers
Depending on the airline, frontline employee turnover varies. This makes training management a real art. Even organizations who invest in training can make mistakes at this phase. It is important to pay attention to WHO you train. Often, there is no customized training for leaders. This results in customer experience problems and missed opportunities. After all, in the case of leaders, their “customers” are not both the external customers and the employees.
When leaders do not receive training, customer service erodes from the inside out. Yes, leadership training tends to be more expensive. But it is also true that one well trained and developed leader can transform a whole division of an organization. JetBlue understood this. We trained leaders at every stage. As a result, leaders understood servant leadership. And they practiced it daily. By the time I left JetBlue, I had completed four trainings. This included a program that was like a mini-MBA for leaders who were recommended by their leadership for further development. Show me another aviation company that offers that!
The Petrova Experience is made of former JetBlue employees. One of our aspirations is to help organizations that also want to deliver exceptional customer experience to their customers. We know getting there is a journey. We also know how to navigate the path to become a customer experience leader in your industry. It requires funding. It requires commitment. And it requires focus and governance at the executive level. Are you ready to start your journey with us?
From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience
Argyle Journal interviewed Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports. One such way, as Liliana explains, it to create magical customer experience…
2021 Customer Loyalty Strategy – Relationships over Transactions
According to the Salesforce Connected Customer Report, 90% of consumers expect companies to clearly demonstrate their values and 66% expect brands to demonstrate empathy. In other words, when thinking about…
A Customer Experience Strategy will Define Your Success in 2021
While there may not be a magic pill to guarantee the perfect customer experience, there is one thing that every organization needs to transform into a customer-centric business. And that…
Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments
Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.
Would You Pitch In To Save Toys “R” Us For Your Children To Experience? #ToysRUsGoFundMe
Last week we laid out the big moves that the leadership of Toys ‘R’ Us failed to take to evolve with customer needs and thus joins other brands as examples of…
Why Customer Retention is the True Measure of SaaS Success
Guest Post by Callie Reynolds for The Petrova Experience In SaaS (Software as a Service), like in most businesses, sales is king. Sales gets the glory, and while I’d like…
Customer Experience Technology View of your Call Center
By 2022 the global cloud based contact center market is growing from USD 6.8Bn in 2017 to 20.93Bn in 2022. This makes for CAGR of 25.2%. If you do not…
Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World
“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle. Every industry we know will be disrupted. For those of us in aviation,…
Customer Experience Design – How Do You Want Customers To Feel?
Last week, we talked about CX Design in terms of space and function. Today, we continue our customer experience design journey to talk about the design of emotions and feelings. The…
Holiday Wishes for Great CX: Career Advice Edition
Every successful customer experience initiative starts with a skilled CX team. Brush up on your CX skills to strengthen the business case for CX; to develop relationships within your organization; and to deliver standout customer experiences in the new year.
Travel Experience Stories: How Not to Leave Customers Stranded
Meet Diane, and get to know her travel experience story. Diane is traveling with her 2 year old and 5 year old to her in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving. This is…
Customer Experience, Self Service, and the Gift of Time
Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.
WeWork Does CX Right with a Wow Moment
Used at the right time and place along the customer’s journey, the Wow Moment is an excellent retention technique. When a brand creates personal, relevant experience at exactly the right time, it can build a lifelong, loyal customer relationship.
What Can Casino Consulting Firms Learn from Airlines?
Today we’re talking about casino experience. Casinos and airlines are similar in their operational complexity and sense of wonder. They also are similar in the way they can implement technology…
Culture Starts at the Top
Without a leader who believes that today’s business success is about acquiring and retaining customers, you cannot even begin the process of building a culture. Leaders who are passionate about the customer are also passionate about creating culture and employee engagement.
Customer Experience Survey: Why Customers Are Not Responding
When you solicit customer feedback sometimes matters more than how you ask the questions. In the case of a survey about new biometrics boarding initiatives my team and I created for JetBlue, we had a list of feedback that was most important for us.
Human Experience: Do You Really Know Your Customers?
Steve Jobs said: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need before they realize it themselves.” He did not just say that….
3 Ways to Create a Better Employee Experience Strategy
Guest Post by Gabe Smith, CCXP for The Petrova Experience The relationship between employee experience strategy and customer experience has long been discussed. Without engaged employees, we’re told, it’s difficult…
What is Customer Experience? What are the Faces of CX?
Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.
Organizational Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
Customer Experience Trends – 8 Actionable Tactics in 2021
As we begin Q4 of an eventful 2020, it’s time to look out for the 2021 customer experience trends and tactics for creating exceptional experiences in increasingly complex environments. We…
Customer Experience Plan is More Important than Ever
Last week we published eight Customer Experience Trends to look out for in 2021. Today we are diving deeper into the first one: Customer Experience is more important than ever…
Poor Integration is Bad for Customer Journey and Worse for Brands
Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt…
End to End Customer Experience – How to Get it Right
When we think of travel, we often think of the flight experience. But the end to end customer experience is complex, and includes all modes of transportation that get you…
What is Telemedicine? Keeping Medicine at the Heart
Guest Post by Dr. Melynda Barnes for The Petrova Experience. In this post Dr. Barnes answers the question “what is telemedicine,” and reminds us to keep medicine at the heart…
Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX
If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.
Brand and Customer Experience – Make the Customer Know Who You Are
Now that we have helped you become experts in the design of space and function and the design of feelings, it is time to turn our attention to aesthetics, and to connect customer experience…
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
4 Career Tips to obtain a Customer Experience Role
In honor of the 4th of July, we are rounding up 4 career tips for CX professionals. Set aside some time during the break from work to take stock in your CX career and evaluate the steps you need to get to the next level.
Are You Ready to Go Exclusive with Jane, Your Digital Concierge?
In 2015 JetBlue introduced bag fees. Seven years after the competition. The media exploded. Many publications were negative. They blamed the airline for “selling out.” One headline read “A New…
Patient Experience Trends in 2021 – Telehealth is Here to Stay
Today, we continue our series about 2021 Customer Experience trends and tactics. We take a closer look at patient experience and what telehealth means for the future. Both for patients…
How To Define Your Purpose And Have Unique Culture
If you Google the word “purpose” you get the definition “the reason for which something exists.” This is a challenge if you think about it in the context of an…
Freelance Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers
For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers. That’s just one of the key…
How to Be an Entrepreneur: 5 Things I Learned in 5 Months as an Entrepreneur
The life of an entrepreneur is different every day, but the one thing that remains the same is that we are always learning. These are my lessons in how to…
Paperless Customer Journey – JetBlue Deviceless Boarding
JetBlue Biometrics – Innovation and Disruption This year, JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who disrupt industries by applying customer experience technology. They not only imagine the future. They…
Hospitality Experience and Why We lack Seamless Travel Experiences
Hospitality is taken for granted across government agencies, airlines and hotels. In my line of work, I often hear “I want to have the JetBlue customer experience.” Although many claim…
Why you need a defined culture for customer experience?
When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. Your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.
Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues
The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of…
Even the US Government is Jumping on the Customer Experience Train
As we get ready for 2021, we have been diving in to the top customer experience trends we see on the horizon. So far, we have looked at why customer…
Customer Experience Audit: Domino’s Making the Right CX Choices
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audit – as series of articles featuring examples of good customer experience and bad customer experience in practice….
What is Human-Centered Design and how to Leverage it in 2021?
At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is…
Employee Engagement and Wellness In The Workplace: Guest Post
Today, The Petrova Experience brings you a guest article about employee engagement, by Natlie DeVito of Commonwealth Joe. Commonwealth Joe is an innovative company, new to the New York City…
Customer Experience Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. They highlight advances in artificial intelligence in retail and other technologies. See all audit stories. Two years…
Customer Experience Audit: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a Customer Experience Audit series. See all the audit stories. The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms of…