American Airlines has been the subject of much controversy recently after they canceled flights due to poor weather conditions. Following a social media backlash, American Airlines published an apology about their messaging on Twitter that made things worse for them and caused people to lose trust in travel companies.
American Airlines has apologized for cancelling flights and their messaging makes things worse. Jetblue is the only airline that hasn’t been affected by this issue yet, and they have a different approach to communicating with customers.
American Airlines Issues Apologies For Flight Cancellations, But Is Their Messaging Making Things Worse?
on November 2, 2021 by Gary Leff
Customers are receiving apologies e-mails from American Airlines, stating that they made the correct choice in canceling so many flights and that they would not do so again since they are staffing up.
What struck me about the email was this:
- My wife (who is a general member) received one. I have yet to get one as of this writing (Executive Platinum). Perhaps I will, but it’s odd that they aren’t prioritizing messages to their most regular customers, even if they are mass emailing their whole database.
- The email begins by acknowledging that the cancellations “may have harmed” the member.
We have proactively canceled flights over the previous several days to accommodate for weather in our operation and its influence on the flying itineraries of our crew members.
We understand that these changes may have had an effect on you…
- My wife and I had no worries for the days after the airline’s recent unpleasantness. Why should you approach your whole database as though just a tiny fraction of the members have had the same experience?
- It’s even worse for consumers who have had their travel plans disrupted since American Airlines doesn’t even acknowledge that they have inconvenienced those travellers.
They didn’t bother with a database of clients who had made reservations. The AAdvantage program’s evaluated worth of up to $30 billion is based in part on their data capabilities, as well as the broad picture of transactions they must comprehend and cross-sell to clients. I’m not convinced.
This isn’t a rant against American Airlines; rather, it’s a marketing point.
- Knowing who your consumers are and finding more of them is the most basic concept in marketing.
- Loyalty marketing is permission-based relationship marketing that is mass-personalized.
- That involves getting to know your consumers via data – or, to put it another way, customer behavior in a simplified form.
You can’t sell to your clients if you don’t know who they are. Don’t send me golf pitches merely because I’m a 40-year-old white male when nothing in your transaction data indicates that I golf.
People do not mind marketing, but they do mind lousy marketing, in my opinion. Delivering the correct message to the right client at the right time is a win-win situation for both the customer and the company. Sending out messages to individuals claiming “you may have been affected” by an operational breakdown demonstrates that you have as little control over your consumers as you have over the operation itself (you don’t even know who was flying and who wasn’t).
Customers should be segmented. You may be in a rush, but don’t be lazy. Sending irrelevant communications to consumers places your messages in the box of irrelevant messages, reducing the probability that they will read and act on your marketing messages in the future, compared to messaging that recognizes the member and where they are.
To put it another way, I’m harping on a central theme: pay attention to the little stuff.
The following is the entire text of American’s message:
|We have proactively canceled flights over the previous several days to accommodate for weather in our operation and its influence on the flying itineraries of our crew members.
We understand that these changes may have had an effect on you. We regret the inconvenience and the fact that we were unable to provide you early notice of these changes. We’d want to provide additional context and explain our approach in order to facilitate seamless travel throughout the forthcoming Christmas season.
DFW suffered two days of wind gusts of up to 50 mph late last week, rendering three of the five runways inoperable and reducing arrival capacity by more than half. The weather, along with the fact that crew members’ routine schedules were interrupted, resulted in a huge number of cancellations at our busiest hub.
We provide the above information not as an excuse, but rather in the spirit of openness. We take our obligation to serve you seriously, and it is our job to use what we learned over the weekend to enhance our operations. You are entitled to nothing less, and you have our assurance that we will deliver.
We altered our operation by preemptively canceling certain flights to minimize any disruption as much as possible to ensure that we are taking care of you and ensuring schedule stability for our crews. The majority of passengers affected by the modifications will be rebooked the same day.
We anticipate significant recovery to begin today, with some lingering effects from the weekend.
We will continue to add to our workforce across the board:
Please contact Reservations at 1-800-433-7300 or use our virtual chat assistant on aa.com and the American Airlines app for help with your trip arrangements.
Thank you for giving me the chance to provide further context on the events of the previous several days and to reassure you of our commitment to getting you where you need to be, when you need to be there.
Alison Taylor is the Chief Customer Officer of Alison Taylor.
More From the Wing’s Perspective
American Airlines has recently apologized for cancelling flights, but their messaging makes things worse. American Airlines is the latest airline to apologize for cancelling flights, but they have not yet said anything about how many people were affected by the cancellations. Reference: airline cancellations.
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