Blog entries about customer service seemed to be following me around yesterday so I figured I’d write a blog post about it. 

First, I read “Seven steps to remarkable customer service” over on the extraordinary blog, Joel On Software.  Joel is the head of Fog Creek Software which makes the excellent FogBugz bug tracking software.  The post is specifically about support for software products, but is relevant to anyone who does customer service in their job (which is just about everyone really, isn’t it?).

His first tenet is perhaps the most valuable: fix everything two ways.  He writes:

Almost every tech support problem has two solutions. The superficial and immediate solution is just to solve the customer’s problem. But when you think a little harder you can usually find a deeper solution: a way to prevent this particular problem from ever happening again.

After reading that I immediately came across an example of a company attempting to fix a problem two ways.  Due to ice storms, JetBlue has had to cancel a large number of its flights (23%) over the last week or so.  People were stranded in airports.  Folks sat on runways for 8 hours.  Your classic planes, trains and automobiles nightmare.  Jetblue was and is under a barrage of criticism for the their poor handling of the situation.

So what are they doing?  Trying to fix the problem two ways.

To address the specific customer problem, they are reimbursing the people who were caught up in the delays.  Here’s the payment schedule according the Consumerist:

• Delays 1-2 hours: $25 off a future flight
• Delays 2-4 hours: $50 off a future flight
• Delays 6+ hours: Free round-trip ticket

To solve the long term program, JetBlue has announced a Customer Bill of Rights.  Here is a list of some of the changes that have been taken to prevent this kind of event from occurring again:

• All non-airport crew members of JetBlue will be badged and ready to go if needed to be called upon
• Increasing number phone lines open for changing reservations
• Tripling the size of the group that schedules pilots and stewardesses

To announce the Bill of Rights, CEO David Needleman posted a video on YouTube explaining the plan of action (embedded after the jump).  The YouTube video has been viewed 33,000 times so far.  A nice use of social media I think, although they should have done a better job with the web during the crisis itself

All of this sounds great but won’t mean much if the changes don’t work. We’ll see.

Anyway, give the piece from Joel on Software a read.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.