Back on May 22, I posted about Delta’s failure with me to live up to its new upbeat marketing campaign. On the day Delta emerged from bankruptcy to start anew, a computer kept my plane on the tarmac for an extra hour or two and it took three days to get my luggage back. Not great service. I said in the post that Delta made a classic mistake in having its basic service not live up to the promise of its advertising and branding.
So I’m sitting here really appreciating a hand-written letter from Gerald Grinstein, CEO of Delta, responding to my post. Now stop a moment and think about this. The CEO of a company writing to apologize for bad service, asking the consumer for another chance. That’s very good service. It directly engages his customer audience. It makes me want to give Delta another shot. And I will.
Here’s Grinstein’s letter:
“Dear Mr. Nussbaum Oddly enough, I agree with your 5/22 column if it means advertising won’t work if the product doesn’t live up to the promise. There are times when we at Delta fail to achieve the level of passenger service we aim to provide. That obviously happened to your flight. Sometimes there are factors beyond our control but your experience tells me that we just failed. For that, I apologize. Also hope that you’ll give us anotehr chance. But you should also know, that there are almost 50,000 Delta people who work very hard to see that situations like that do not occur. When they do, we learn from them. So if you can bring yourself to five Delta another try, my wager is you will be impressed with the dedication of our people and the quality of srvice they provide when we give them the tools to do so.
Sincerely, Jerry Grinstein”
So lessons for managers. Mistakes happen. It’s what you do about them that counts for consumers. Here we have a proper apology (remorse, promise of solution, request for another chance) from the person in charge.
It worked for me.