What Good Service Does

I got a letter two days ago from Delta airlines telling me they had added 2,500 miles to my rewards account for delays I experienced in a flight back from Ohio. What is interesting is that I never gave much thought to the whole incident. There was a cascading delay issue created by some storms on the east coast that resulted in equipment delays into some midwest airports. That led to a series of cancellations and confusing rebookings. If you travel a lot, you get used to it.
But while I may be nonchalant about the delay, I certainly was surprised and happy when they acknowledged the delay and offered unexpected compensation. In a business where poor service is often trumpeted, I am now just a little more likely to search out Delta in travel plans.
That’s what service does. It is why I am a loyal Marriott customer, why I still buy Lands End clothes whenever logical, and why Amazon is a default shopping destination for many other purchases. I, like many other consumers, want to feel that companies care about our experience with their products or services. And when a company does something like Delta just did, acknowledge a problem and offer something tangible even though I did not complain, their competitive stock rises.
It is a good lesson for every marketer. Adversity or mistakes can become a way to lose customers…or they can be a way to strengthen relationships, just by the way you react to the challenge.