Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Delta Responds

I suppose it was partially due to the specter of having this episode exposed on a blog that finally got Delta to respond to my letter from a month ago. Here is there response and below it is my reply.


November 25, 2009

Dear Mr. Winkler,

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the service provided while traveling with us. On behalf of everyone at Delta Air Lines, I sincerely apologize for the stress and inconvenience you experienced.

I realize the inconvenience you were caused. We know travelers need an airline they can count on, and I recognize how upsetting it is when plans are disrupted. Feedback like you have provided will help us to improve our overall customer experience.

Our goal is to surpass our customer?s expectations every day. We appreciate your kind comments and will continue to work hard to provide superior service. Be assured we take our commitment to serving you veryseriously. Your feelings are important to us, and I have shared your comments with the responsible leadership team.

I regret the inconvenience you were caused with your checked baggage. Like you, we certainly wish that instances of mishandled bags never occurred. Please know I will be sharing your comments with our Airport Customer Service leadership team. Your feedback is valued and we thank you for taking the time to bring this disappointing experience to our attention.

While we would like to offer special consideration in cases such as yours, we are unable to honor the many requests that we receive from others in similar situations. We follow a consistent policy to ensure that Delta is fair to everyone who travels with us. Accordingly, we must respectfully decline your request. I am truly sorry to disappoint you, as I am sure this is not the answer you expected.

Mr. Winkler, your business is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your expectations.


John M. Smith
Customer Care


My response:

November 25, 2009

Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you for replying to my letter although I find it interesting that I did not hear from you earlier. Actually, this is approximately the response I expected. I think we are now well into the era when companies like yours do not take responsibility for your actions. I understand that you must have a policy on such matters and that you must be consistent. But if you are not taking steps towards ensuring that A) this kind of thing does not happen and B) if it does, your customers are taken care of, then you will continue to lose customers and ultimately you will go out of business.

I suspect that if you made the decision to properly compensate those that have been wronged in the way that I was, you would A) see the need to take concrete steps to avoid such costs in the first place and B) end up developing a more loyal customer base. It has been proven that customers are more loyal to a company when something goes wrong but the company "takes care of them" vs. when nothing goes wrong in the first place.

All of this, to me, is another example of why it is so critical that each merger or acquisition is carefully scrutinized before it is allowed to take place. Once companies, like Delta, become so large that there are few alternatives for their customers, they will act as Delta has acted in this case - without "doing the right thing". There are many things that you could learn from your competitors like Korean Air (trans-pacific) and Southwest Airlines (domestic). They "get it" from my point of view, and Delta does not. You are not alone. United is even worse, in my experience, and American is not far behind.


Karl Winkler


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