It’s been almost a year since the infamous dragging incident on United Airlines flight 3411. It seems like there’s a daily story about an incident here or there that could have been prevented. You would think that the repeated stories would lead the airlines, which are service organizations, to find ways to prevent them.
The latest version of airline customer service gone wrong, Groundhog Day edition, looks something like this:
There are actually two videos. Hit the arrow on the right to view the second one.
Why Does This Still Happen?
When Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, said he wanted to do better after the dragging incident, I believed him. It’s hard to fathom that anyone would want to continue operating a business where employees feel like they have license to pick fights with customers. And, over some pretty silly issues. Even if the bag doesn’t fit (it clearly does), there’s no reason for the sort of behavior the employee displays.
I’m sure Mr. Munoz doesn’t condone such behavior. How do the airlines stop it from happening? There are plenty of large companies that have employees who deliver great customer service. The unions could be part of the issue. However, Southwest has unions as well and seems to surface in a lot less of these types of stories. The airlines promote great service in commercials and safety videos, but those efforts fall short in real life.
The Final Two Pennies
There’s clearly still a culture problem at United. Some employees feel like this behavior is acceptable. This employee shouldn’t be in a customer-facing job, at least not without completing some additional customer service training. Maybe there are elements of their contract that prevent the airline from moving the employee elsewhere, I can’t say for sure.
Bad customer service employees need to be removed to reinforce why good employees should continue delivering great customer service.
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