I fly thousands of miles each year for business and use different airlines. I often fly Delta and I was given Diamond status because I have met the requirements of flying over 125,000 miles a year with them. Diamond status fliers receive many benefits and one is being upgraded on domestic flights for free most of the time and they will also upgrade my companion.
On June 30th I was returning from a fishing trip from Anchorage Alaska with my son. We were checking in at the ticket counter and were allowed 3 bags each of 70 pounds. We had 5 boxes of salmon and halibut filets averaging between 50 and 70 pounds each PLUS my suitcase. Two boxes of fish were going with my son on the connecting flight from Minneapolis Minnesota to Denver Colorado. That left us with one extra box for me. Since I was going over my limit of 3 bags, I asked the man if I could check one of my son’s 3 allowed bags just to Minneapolis since it was really mine.
His remark to me was, “Mr. Tschohl, why don’t I just send it to Minneapolis under your name. You are a valued high-volume customer. We will just overlook the rule and I will approve it.” He immediately handled a small situation without asking permission from upper management. He used empowerment.
This ticket agent constantly called me by my last name. Very professional. It was some of the very best service I had seen in years from Delta or for that matter, any airline. It makes me want to fly Delta more often and for sure it makes me value my Diamond status.
Delta has special certificates they give to Diamond status customers to pass out to Delta employees when they do a remarkable job. This ticket agent received one from me.
Lessons to Be Learned:
- Little things matter.
- It did not cost the airline any more money. Frankly it saved them money because the 4th piece of luggage was removed in Minneapolis. They did NOT need to transfer it to the other plane and have additional weight on the flight to Denver.
- He made an empowered decision that took only seconds
- Never asked anyone else for permission or made a big deal out of doing this.
- Always used my name. The most precious thing to customers.
- 95% of empowered decisions will cost less than $50. Often nothing. If this was your mother what would you do?
- If you have over happy customers you can smile on the way to the bank with all the extra revenue
- Employees need to be trained on the art of empowerment if you want it to be part of your culture
- It usually takes a miracle to get an employee to make an empowered decision
- Virtually every CEO wants his/her employees to make empowered decisions