Apparently being as smart as a rhino is a good thing in the customer service world. At least this story posted on FastCompany would have you believe so. The short of it is that rhinos have learned to sacrifice potential safety from predators to get a better tasting meal and that JetBlue has learned to provide credits to customers when there is a service failure without requiring certificates, codes or paperwork.
But JetBlue’s approach is a splendid example of what Martha Rogers and I are trying to explain in our new book Extreme Trust. This company is proactively trustworthy. It’s trustable. It proactively watches out for its customers’ interests, even though doing so means it must give up the immediate financial benefit it used to get from breakage. In other words, JetBlue is paying real money to gain the trust of its customers, and customer trust is the “food” it wants for its ongoing business. JetBlue has obviously concluded that the value represented by this trust exceeds the “cost” of giving up the breakage.
Having been the beneficiary of the JetBlue Travel Bank system a couple times I have to agree that it is much better than any other carrier I’ve had similar credits with. That said, I’m not so sure that it is truly evolutionary. The author makes a good point that customers could reasonably begin to expect better service from airlines when one of them is able to meet such demands seemingly without issue. But until there is actually a trend forming a single data point doesn’t mean too much, at least not across the whole industry.
Do these sorts of actions make you trust a company more? Enough to shift business towards them? I definitely chose JetBlue on purpose for the trip I’m on right now but their Customer Service Bill of Rights was not part of the consideration matrix for me at all.