I've posted a lot about United (here, here, and here), but never really suggested and solutions, which I realized after reading this post on CUCEO. Here are some of the short strategies that the post suggests with my comments (read the post for more lengthy explanations):
- Make your customers number one, again. Welcome your customers. Treat your customers as partners. Stop treating me like a damn criminal when I ask you for an exit row seat. Start being nice to me. Upgrade me for free when there are empty seats. Thank me for my business every once in awhile (and I mean things other than giving me mileage).
- Treat your remaining travel agents or sites as your partner, not as your enemy. Why? They stand in your stead handling customers, oftentimes live. They invest money to market your services. Help them. Also, if they get a lot of complaints about your service from customers (or maybe if they read blogs), they are going to push the airlines that treat them and their customers in a way that does not cause them heartburn.
- Treat your employees like you care. They do a great job in tough situations like this recent storm that cause so many flight cancellations. "Give 'em some love" and some authority to help your customers. Your big push used to be the fact that United employees were "employee-owners," so it was in every employees' best interest to provide world-class service; what the hell happened?
- By prioritizing your customers and marketing partners ahead of your shareholders and lenders you'll end up making everyone happy. The goals of your shareholders and lenders are not well-served by alienating your customers. And you can't keep going to the well for federal bailouts. Eventually, your customers will rebel, your marketing partners will stop marketing your services and your shareholders will be even more unhappy.
As the CUCEO author wished you good luck, so do I; I've got a lot of mileage in your program.