Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How Much "I'm Sorry" Can Actually Mean

There's been a lot of negative shit (and that's just a small taste) on the airline industry in the press recently-- and most of it deservedly so. To be honest, a good experience on a flight is something I consider a luxury these days. If it's on time, the flight attendants don't give me attitude for asking for that second beer, and my luggage gets where it needs to go, I'm ok.

But today I realized maybe I do care. Flying out of Minneapolis on NWA, our plane was delayed for an hour or so- not terrible by airline standards- but still a pain. The pilot took the time to get on the intercom multiple times to give us updates and apologize for the delay.

That in itself wasn't surprising- in fact I'd be pissed if he didn't- but what I did appreciate is that fact that he was standing at the door of the plane as we exited, personally apologizing for the delay rather than delegating the task to the flight crew.

It illustrated for me yet again a point that companies so often ignore- getting their own people on board with the company brand/mission. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but the fact that the pilot came out and took the time to apologize raised my views of the airline in general. Having people who stand up and admit when they've messed up, personally extending their apologies to me, was a nice surprise from an industry I didn't expect it from. And seeing an employee who believes his company/brand should be better than that was refreshing.

Now the question is, will I get a similar experience on the way back to uphold my newly found positive sentiment for the company, or will it be shot down? We'll find out soon enough...


Anonymous said...

You mean Fallon Planners don't fly business class? How disappointing...

erin said...

Beautiful post > I love idealizing about brands as the people who work the frontline. It's there that a mission/essence/brand love really counts.

Flying is such conundrum these days. It's bound to reach its tipping point sometime soon. It's endearing how personable and genuine the pilot was comfortable being. Kudos to him, sounds like a good guy.

What it comes down to though is personal connections/attention. It still counts for a lot. It's a little thing that big brands/companies can forget about investing in (investing in the people who can make it happen) but no less important than a primetime commercial during MNF or friendly customer-service at the 1-800 #.

A brand is a complete circle. Good people like the pilot should be at the center. :)

erin said...

PS. I really like how you have organized and titled your links to the right. You've got a nice collection of webfinds. High five.

avin said...

Thanks for your comments Erin, your last couple sentences sum it up quite nicely.