Very rarely does a US-based airline provide a case study on the best way to handle a customer service situation, but US Airways just surprised me. One of the most difficult situations that your social media team or customer service agents have to deal with is a planned change that your users will not like. It could be a price increase, it could be a cutback on available colors or sizes, for a game company it could be fewer free options in a free-to-play game. In all these situations, most companies normally brace for the backlash and hope to weather the storm with minimal damage.
Be proactive and anticipate unhappy customers
Rather than being reactive, however, US Airways showed how you could be proactive in a potentially damaging situation. US Airways recently completed its acquisition of American Airlines, and as part of the integration they will be switching from their previous network of airline partners to American’s network. For fliers who travel frequently on US Airways’ previous partners, the merger was bad news and they were going to be upset that they could no longer earn miles on their favorite carriers. What most companies would do would be to “man up,” prepare for a wave of complaints from customers who were unhappy they were no longer earning miles on US Airways’ old partners and probably book an anticipated loss of revenue from loyal customers who wanted to continue earning miles on one of US Airways’ old partners. Continue reading “Anticipating customer discontent and pre-empting it, with an assist from machine learning”