JetBlue’s recent problems

If you travel, know anyone who travels, or follow the news, you have certainly heard a lot about JetBlue recently (see this link to Google News). There is a lot to discuss on this topic, so I may come back to it in a few separate posts over the next week or two. It is a big mess up – one that business folk are saying will cost JetBlue an immediate $30 million and who knows how much in reputation damage and a loss of repeat business. Glenn talked about the issue a few days ago and mentioned how it is very much an “us versus them” thing.

JetBlue is similar to Southwest in terms of customer service. The company seems to be well liked by passengers and is also a low fare/high customer service type airline. Customer service seems to be a major focus of theirs and the company seems quite upset about all that has been happening lately. I haven’t talked about JetBlue at all before (though Paul English said they were pretty good in terms of customer service in his interview).

Signals vs. Noise had an excellent post about JetBlue and how they have been handling the whole fiasco the other day. Their suggestions are as follows – my comments are in ():

  • Bring all available employees to the front lines. (Excellent suggestion and JetBlue did well at this and though Matt says they weren’t a ton of help, they were there and better than nothing.)
  • Be the megaphone man. (This was very resourceful and an excellent idea. People want updates – see this post about keeping customers in the loop.)
  • Have an operator reserve force. (I’m not sure how feasible it is for the company to get additional operators at short notice, but I agree with the point about it is stupid to tell customers who are there to call.)
  • Take it personally. (JetBlue did this and is still doing it).
  • Use your site as a PR weapon. (They may not have been doing this at the time, but they are now. There are links all over to the Passenger Bill of Rights, and an apology from the CEO).

The suggestions on SVN were direct from the writer and passenger. Compared to a lot of customer service “disasters”, I think JetBlue did very well. They are handling the issue and not trying to brush it off to any extent.

To add my few cents (and I’m not sure if JetBlue was doing this or what – these suggestions are just from what I have read so far):

  • Get alternatives. I think JetBlue did some of this. They should have been buying tickets for passengers on other airlines, buying bus tickets, train tickets, whatever it took.
  • Get them off the planes. A big complaint seems to be that passengers were waiting on parked planes for hours. JetBlue should have sent buses and got them off the plane sooner than that. After an hour or two – max.

To help offer customers some confidence, JetBlue unveiled a “passenger bill of rights.” I’ve only read this article on it and the brief page on their site, and while it doesn’t seem bullet proof, it is definitely a step in the right direction. What JetBlue is doing right, though, is admitting it messed up and trying to fix things. They are handling their apologies correctly – by working on ensuring it won’t happen again and dealing with the immediate issues on hand.

Oh, and I am exceedingly happy that I am not the CEO or a customer service executive at JetBlue right now. I can only imagine how busy (and stressed) they must be.

Edit: Glenn is mostly convinced that JetBlue is trying.

One Response to “JetBlue’s recent problems”

  1. DadEO said:

    Feb 21, 07 at 12:09 pm

    The entire DadLabs production crew recently spent 18 hours in the jetBlue terminal at JFK. It was Valentine’s Day.

    So we’re bitter. But when life gives you lemons, make poetry.