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United Airlines has taken customer service to new levels and beyond. Their employees know what it means to keep their customers happy and what it takes to keep them coming back for more. When I first started this article, I was going to use United Airlines as a model of what not to do as far as customer service. United Airlines had to file bankruptcy a few years back and it didn’t look like they would recover from it.
But after doing some deep digging, I found out that it was bad planning and bad money handling that got them into that trouble. It had nothing to do with bad customer service as I had thought. I ran across several articles that were pretty good, but this one about an employee at United Airlines named Michael sealed the deal for me to use this business as the go-to company for customer service examples. Here is a little of what was said an experience by Steve Levitt of Freakonomics:
“I was returning home via LaGuardia. Because of weather, all the flights were delayed two hours or more. I arrived an hour early, which meant at least a three hour wait. Because of an earlier cancelled flight, the person at the counter told me there was no way I could catch one of the earlier (but also delayed) flights.
As I sat down to a dinner of fast food Chinese, my cell phone rang. The caller was a United Airlines employee named Michael. He said, 'I see that you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed a few hours. A seat opened up on an earlier flight, so I grabbed it for you in case you wanted it. It leaves in forty minutes, so you’ll have to hurry.'”
I also found out that Michael is just one of many employees whose job is to assist frequent flyers in this manner and in any manner that they can. That is awesome. United Airlines has created jobs within their company to ensure that every one of their many customers are happy. They have also empowered these employees to do whatever they see fit to make sure that their customer's problems get solved. Now that is way over the top.
As a result of this and some other awesome programs, United Airlines was able to make a full recovery from their financial woes. I only have one suggestion for this company to improve its customer service and that is to give away cash at the gates.
And now for the bad. Italian Fiesta Pizzeria is a great example of horrible customer service at a company with a great product. I have travelled extensively around our fair country and I have had the pleasure of tasting many different kinds of pizza, from many different places. I must say that I rank Italian Fiesta in the top 10 for taste, but around 1,200th for customer service. I have not interacted with one employee from this company that made me feel like I was bothering them.
They are rude, they ignore you when you enter the store, and one even cursed at me before. It is obvious that the owners know that they have a good product and simply don’t care if you like their employees or not. I have seen so many bad reviews on different websites for them that it is ridiculous. I would have to say at least 99 percent of them are horrible. Take this one for example:
“Phone customer service is very poor. Need some educated people on the front line with phone experience. Jasmine was the girl who tried to take my order. She really needs a class on customer service.”
Granted that this person is not coming off as a professor, but we get the point. What I don’t understand is the same people that leave comments like this, keep going back. I stopped going to them years ago. I simply could not take the rudeness any longer, but I must admit that I miss the taste of their pizza.
Despite all of the bad comments that are left on websites people still go. Even with the people that know their reputation keep going back. I really don’t understand. Financially this business is growing. They have opened three new stores since I first went to them for a slice of pizza, and they have not looked back. They probably have more by now.
I have heard employees arguing behind the counter from time to time, but I haven’t seen any ill effects from their behavior on the quality of the pizza. My suggestion to Italian Fiesta is to train their employees better or start training them in customer service. They also need to train their management team better. I have seen the shift supervisor stand next to an employee while they yelled at a customer.
If they had better customer service, they could probably be much more successful.