Sunday, August 22, 2010

Customers First

Employees represent their companies' brands in the eyes of the public. Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who dramatically left the aircraft while on duty on August 9, 2010, negatively affected JetBlue's brand, due to his role in customer service, safety and emergencies.

JetBlue's website showcases its Customer Bill of Rights. Slater, in his customer service position, displayed incorrect behavior toward a customer, which shows customers that they may not be treated correctly on JetBlue. In America, the "customer is always right," (H. Gordon Selfridge) but not on JetBlue.

Flight attendants explain safety procedures to airline customers and assist in protecting their safety. Since Slater failed to promote a safe environment when opening the emergency slide, customers could feel unsafe on jetBlue flights. They know flying is a potentially dangerous situation, due to accidents and terrorism, and would prefer airlines where they are confident that flight attendants will protect them.

The image of an adversarial employee and an unsafe environment could lead customers to decrease their purchase of JetBlue tickets. The company needs to counteract this image by highlighting its customer service and safety record versus other airlines'. Otherwise, customers perceive that they could have a negative experience on JetBlue, which tarnishes JetBlue's brand.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Carol,
    Maybe its a UK cultural thing or maybe just a personal foible but I have to disagree with your premise that Steve Slater is the cause of the problem.
    I actually see him as a bit of a hero - as I understand it, he got out because he could no longer stand the arrogance and insensitivity of JetBlue passengers. I'd choose not to use JetBlue because of who I might have to share armrest or cabin space with - not because of Steve or his (former) cabin crew colleagues.
    There are several UK supermarket chains which I avoid for exactly the same reason - a number of them are popular with the kind of parents who like to beat their (screaming) children in public while others appear to be the venue of choice for four-letter remonstrations between warring partners.
    A truism - you get the customers you deserve.


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