2 October 2014

“Would you hire this person”?

Living in Atlanta, Delta is my natural airlines of choice. And airlines do not exactly make the whole experience very enjoyable these days – what with all the ever increasing extra charges and ever shrinking legrooms – not to talk about all the confusion about seat up or seat inclined :-). However, most airlines do very well by their frequent flyers.
Certainly, from the vantage point of being a very frequent flyer, I have had many experiences which have made me admire Delta. Their whisking away elite passengers in waiting Porsches 🙂 and free drinks at the club immediately come to mind. Then there was the time I flew with the CEO of Delta and was stunned to see him go straight to the coach class and sit in the last row. (I was flying first class). Let’s also not forget that one time when the pilot on our way back from a family vacation left a lovely hand written note on the backside of his business card on my seat.
Today was a very unique experience with Delta. And I was nowhere near an airport. I actually had called up their call center for a simple, quick help. I am sure they take special care of the frequent flyers – and this was no different. But the real interesting thing happened after the lady (who I found out during the call hailed from Samoa.. yeah yeah yeah.. I try to create “intersection points” over the phone too 🙂 ) was done with me. An automated message came on asking if I would take a one question survey.
Normally, I would keep the phone down. This once, for whatever reason, I said “Ok”. Want to take a guess what that question was?
I could have never guessed it. The survey asked me “On a scale of 1-5, 5 being highest, what is the likelihood that you would hire the person you talked to if your business had a customer support call center”?
I pressed 5, put the phone down and started thinking about what just happened. That was the weirdest survey question, I thought.
And then I started getting it. Not sure if Delta changes the question up but certainly, it is a safe bet that the most traveled passengers are business people and are likely to give an answer from experience. So they hit the right segment of customers.
But the real brilliance was in the question itself. Delta nailed one truth – it is seldom about how the problem was solved. It is always about how was I treated. That is what I remember the most. And there is no such thing as a company called “Delta” that I really interact it. That is an abstract construct. I interact with a real human being. How I felt with the whole experience absolutely reflects on and is totally influenced by how I felt about the person during the interaction.
And what better – and business-wise astute – way of judging that by simply asking – not “did you like the interaction?”, not “was he/she knowledgeable?” – but “would you hire him/her?”.

Very well done, Delta!

Posted October 2, 2014 by Rajib Roy in category "Reflections


  1. By Vijay Ramchandran on

    this is an area I have been very involved in over the past few years. You are absolutely right in that the interaction you have is with a human being, not a corporate entity. On the flip side (if Delta is really doing this right) they should be asking your Samoan lady “how likely are you to recommend Delta as a place to work”. Engaged employees + memorable customer experiences = loyal customers aka Rajib Roy:)

  2. By Anibrata on

    1 is slightly better than 0; perhaps referring to a guy not quite figured how to become someone from no one!!

  3. By Rupak Ganguly on

    I have had many such experiences where I wished that after I kept the phone down, I could call up the person’s supervisor and convey how good the person I talked to was. But, usually it is pretty hard to locate that person, in the confusion of the big company fronting them.

    Wish there was an unique system built into support call systems that would let you automatically leave a feedback just after the call.


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