Travel…Everyone has their horror stories from lost luggage, delayed flights and reservation systems that seem to only stall when you travel and never inconvenience anyone else. Very seldom do we hear a story that entails a positive experience. This is one of those stories so be sure and bookmark this page and refer to it often.
A couple of weeks ago I took my son on his first flight. It wasn’t a long flight. We were only going to Corpus Christi from Dallas/Ft. Worth but to him it was finally a chance to hurl through the air in a real airplane which he had only seen from the ground. It was a chance to make a memory.
This all started prior to the flight when I was on aa.com for another trip. I logged in but found the website down for some reason. I write about down systems sometimes and enterprise applications on another blog so I took a screenshot and posted it on-line and mentioned @AmericanAir.
It took only a short while for @AmericanAir to respond to see if I needed help but I didn’t need anything since a quick refresh of the site solved my error. I then remembered my son’s upcoming first flight and asked if they had anything for a first time traveler. I was told they would try and do something when I asked for some swag like a hat or a t-shirt. I was fine with that.
A week later my son received a hand written letter addressed to him. He loves mail but calls everything email even if the mail carrier brings it. Anyhow, he got some wings to take on his first flight. Perfect, thanks…
The day before our flight I got a call from someone at the airport. They wanted to know my son’s favorite cartoon character so they could put it on his certificate. Wow, I thought. A certificate for him? They are going all out.
The day of our flight we arrived at the airport early so we could get settled and walk around. We walked to the gate to look out the window at the planes when the gate agent looked at us and asked, “Is this Charlie?” “Yes it is”, I said and told the four year old to say hi of which he did. The gate agent further explained that she was waiting on the captain to sign Charlie’s certificate then she could hand it over.
We sat down in the gate area and waiting for boarding. The captain and crew arrived checked in with the gate agent and went on board. The captain then came out and walked over to Charlie and said, “Hi.” Several of the other passengers peered in our direction since we were talking to the captain. It was as if we were royalty or some type of official. Well, maybe not that much but Charlie was loving it. It was then that the captain asked if he could escort us on board. Cool!
I grabbed all of our stuff and ran after the captain and Charlie as they took off down the jetway. We got on board and the captain asked Charlie to join him in the cockpit and sit in his pilot’s seat. Charlie climbed over and grabbed the yoke as the captain scooted the seat all the way up. He then began to pull levers and touch everything. He thought this was so cool.
We did this for a few minutes then we had to let the rest of the passengers board to keep the flight on time. Our last mission was to get a photo op with the flight crew. They were really accommodating and patient with us. It was a really nice of them to do all of this and to think it all started from the folks running the @AmericanAir Twitter account who we never met nor ever got a name of someone behind the scenes.
So what does this all mean?
With all of the hubbub with social media platforms and tactics you need to understand how to make an impression and engage your customer. As in my case, most of the interaction was on-line but the impressions and memories were made in person: first, with the hand written letter and secondly our experience at the airport and in the cockpit. You need to be sure and understand how to impact and budget for the entire experience. It is easy to budget for on-line activities since these are inexpensive and relatively easy to pull off but be aware that the more expensive live events and personal touch have a higher impact. People still buy from people so don’t underestimate the difference you can make in someone’s experiences.