Thanks For Flying With Us. Please Give Us All Your Money.

Today I had quite an experience with United Airlines (UAUA). It has very little to do with much of anything I usually write about here, save one key element: I have posited that to succeed in what I’ve been calling the Conversation Economy, companies must learn to have conversations with their customers at scale. (And to do so, they will need to leverage open platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. and, of course, change the way they instrument their business. But more on that later).

Well, here’s a tale of one company failing miserably at doing just that, even while, in the end, due to my own insistence (and most likely, the rising level of anger in my voice), it kind of, sort of, managed to not totally fail.

But first, the backstory.

I am a United flyer, in the main. I’m not saying I’m a proud, loyal, or passionate United flyer, but a United flyer I am. I like their “PS” service between NY and SF, and I fly that route a lot – to the point of knowing the flight attendants and picking exactly which seats I settle into each trip. I tend to fly United where ever else I go (and anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I go to a lot of places). I’ve been an Executive Premier there for a long, long time (though I think it dropped at some point during the bad years of 2001-02) – which means I fly a ton with United. At some point or other this year, in fact, a gate agent at United let me know that I’m a million mile flyer – however, most of their agents on the phone have no idea what I’m talking about when I recite this nugget back to them.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying, I know the airline really, really well. And when I fly, even with my family, I tend to fly with United, even though I’ve had my share of travel and customer service disasters (and you all know, regardless of what airline you fly, what I mean by that).

But does the airline know me? No. Not at all. And today was a remarkable example of that in action.

Read the whole thing at Searchblog »

About John Battelle 1 Article

Affiliation: Federated Media Publishing

John Battelle is a journalist as well as founder and chairman of Federated Media Publishing. He has been a visiting professor of journalism at UC Berkeley and also maintains Searchblog, a weblog covering search, technology, and media.

Battelle is one of the original founders of Wired magazine, the founder of The Industry Standard magazine and website, and "band manager" of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing. He has also written for Business 2.0 and is program chair for the Web 2.0 conference. He studied at UC Berkeley, earning both a B.A. in Anthropology in 1987, and a M.Jour. (Masters in Journalism) in 1992.

In 2005, Battelle published The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, chronicling the rise of online search engines and, specifically, Google.

Visit: Searchblog, Federated Media

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*