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?
Employee Engagement and Wellness In The Workplace: Guest Post
Today, The Petrova Experience brings you a guest article about employee engagement and organizational culture. This piece is by Natalie DeVito, of Commonwealth Joe. Commonwealth Joe is an innovative company,…
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…
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 organizational…
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…
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…
Liliana Petrova Talks Patient Experience in Healthcare Podcast
Recently, we recorded a podcast on patient experience in healthcare with Stacey Richter. Today, we are excited to share it with you. On the episode, we discuss travel and healthcare…
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…
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,…
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…
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.
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….
How a Personal Interaction builds Repeat Customers
A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).
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.
United CEO does not care about #customers happiness. Really?
Lately, I have been thinking about United Airlines and its organizational culture. Initially, I thought about United Airlines culture because someone asked whether it is possible to build a customer-centric…
Healthcare Whitepaper: Impact of Patient ‘I Wants’ in Healthcare
Rachel Dreyfus joins The Petrova Experience with a guest blog about patient experience. Background A culture of positive patient experience is increasingly important in Healthcare, affecting patient outcomes and satisfaction….
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.
Is Covid19 What We Needed to Build Seamless End-to-End Travel Experience?
On January 10th, we published an article called The Future of Travel We Deserve. In it, we laid out the foundation necessary to implement innovation at scale. Four months later,…
Aviation Industry, Coronavirus Isn’t the Only Thing Killing Us
Eighteen years ago, September 11th caused a three-day halt of the US commercial airlines and resulted in a 31.6% reduction in travel in September 2001 compared to the previous year….
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…
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…
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.
Why Bt2B Businesses Must Think Like B2C in the Next Decade
B2B vs B2B thinking makes a real difference when it comes to customer experience. According to Gartner at least 80% of B2B buyers now expect the same buying experience as…
Leadership During the Pandemic: Guest Post by Rachel Dreyfus
This is a guest post by Rachel Dreyfus, President, Dreyfus Advisors, who researched leadership and organizational culture during the pandemic. How has Covid19 influenced leadership over the past three months?…
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…
Digital Customer Experience Strategy – Top Three Mistakes
How many of you have interacted with financial and insurance institutions who seem to have forgotten the invention of the world wide web and applications design? In 2021, Major players…
How to Prepare for AI: Dispatches from CR Summit, Charleston
On the eve of the #CRSummit in Charleston, customer experience leaders from various industries held the first AI Committee meeting. AI is a challenging topic to cover because it has…
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…
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….
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.
Hiring Tips: Who Should I Hire First on My CX Team
The pressure to demonstrate business impact and ROI on your Customer Experience initiatives quickly makes your first hire even more important. As usual, there is no answer that fits all scenarios perfectly. We have some helpful strategies to consider based on the structure of your organization and your goals.
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…
Customer Experience Tips and Best Practices In 2017?
This is Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on customer experience. She shares customer experience tips, lessons learned, and best practices for the new year. And dives into organizational culture…
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
I want to tell you about my recent passenger experience. Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport…
Customer Experience Audit: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce
How to balance the efficiency call center metric FCR (first call resolution) with wait and talk time? JetBlue promotes human interactions as a brand promise.
How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth
Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will focus on two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.
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, is to create magical customer experience…
What is the best question for your CX Survey?
As customer experience professionals, we need to factor in this disconnect when we design surveys. And when we react to survey results. Customers have an image of who they want to be. However, their behaviors do not always reflect that image.
Customer Experience Audit: FedEx Omnichannel Disaster
In our Strategy, Org Design & Culture series, we cover customer-focused companies that are willing to adapt, take risks and discover new ways of staying relevant. Sometimes, we encounter brands…