So often we point out where companies go wrong. Today I received an email that provides an example of a company going right.
US Airways periodically send out messages to frequent fliers about the progress of their merger with America West. I love the tone they take in these: friendly, sensible, and not in the least condescending.
Here’s the start of the most recent one:
Welcome again to the latest edition of the Merger Update, where we provide the plain English scoop on issues important to you, our frequent travelers. No corporate double speak; just a rundown of details on the most pressing questions of the day.
So, first things first. You may be weary of us apologizing for the tough times we had this spring due to the migration of our reservations system, but here it is: We sincerely apologize for the numerous failures. After a pretty nice start to the merger we’ve learned some tough lessons through all this and received some very helpful advice from many of you, some of which we’re applying already and some of which is unprintable. So thank you for sticking with us as we climb back on the horse.
OK, enough groveling, here’s what we’ve got:
Res Migration, Part LXXXVII
Briefly, here’s the status on two of the big items we’re still working on.
- Problem: Kiosks. We tried to apply the “West” software code to the “East” kiosks and it didn’t work very well. Yes, there’s more to it than that, but we know that what you care about is a solution.
- Solution: First we upgraded the software so it works in most cases. But “most cases” isn’t enough, so we’ve ordered 600 new kiosks, with the first 100 arriving in June. Added to a base of 800, that’s a lot of kiosks. In fact, it may even leave one extra, since our CIO, Joe Beery says he’d like to be buried in a kiosk.
- Problem: Reports and functionality for our employees. We didn’t adequately replicate some of the processes that many of our employees use to do their job every day.
- Solution: We’ve formed teams of employees and programmers to get our staff what they need and are making good progress.
What’s new in Dividend Miles
Improvements to First, Envoy and Coach Class all coming up
By popular demand we recently announced several enhancements to our in-flight product that I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see, including upgrading and rotating First Class meals more often (you don’t want another calzone?). It’s a lengthy list that includes upgrades to our 757 and 767 transatlantic aircraft.
usairways.com: getting better every eight weeks
Our release cycle is eight weeks, with the next upgrade due in June. As is our custom in the Merger Update, here’s a list of what we’ve recently added and what’s on deck.
We admit that some of these features are standard equipment on some other airline sites, but we started in a bit of hole at merger time and we’re quickly closing the gap. We intend to be fully caught up and more by, well, as soon as possible.
The humor here is dry and self-aware, with just the right amount of self-deprecation. “Like to be buried in a kiosk,” “you don’t want another calzone?” “getting better every eight weeks….” It’s not quite comedy gold, but it’s funny because it’s true.
And in a world of super-buffed corporate gobbledy-gook, this kind of customer communication stands out. I wish all the companies I deal with would adopt a similar approach.