Thank You, United: More About User Experience Extending Past The Website

To my surprise, United Airlines is working with on the airline ticket issue. They understood my frustration, and want to resolve it because it is something that falls through the cracks. What they don’t know is this trip is for my friend’s 40th birthday. The irony of this is that my friend’s name is so rare, I don’t see how anyone can claim that we’re changing it to someone else.

If this goes through, I will tell everyone I know about the wonderful customer experience I had with United Airlines. Now they are going to work with Air Canada to change this. At least I didn’t spend $5,000 for a ticket like someone else did on Delta.

Companies don’t reach out to customers enough, and it even happens in the line of work that I do — we promise the customer X and the customer receives Y. It’s truly becoming a world where companies are taking the tact of “this is what you are going to get.” Seth Godin has a post on this regarding voice systems titled, “Should you fire the voice mail guy?” I now deal with them all the time when booking travel, and always have issues with them because I have a slight speech impedement.

Customers desperately want a great customer experience, so much so that word of mouth sites are very successful (i.e. Yelp).

Another story I relayed to a client: there have been studies done that when dealing with a website, the last thing people want to do is pick up the phone (or, can you spot a phone number anywhere on eBay or Amazon for customer service). They don’t want to send an email. What they really want to do is find an answer right then.

Additionally, people forget that internal customers are just as important as external customers. Read on over at Signal vs. Noise. When running an intranet, the less people bug you for a document and the more they can find on their own, not only does it make them happier with their job satisfaction, it saves the company or organization money and makes the more productive.

Case in point: When I was a product manager at, we added reams of frequently asked questions, rewrote every single email so it was easy to understand, and guess what? Not only did customer touches drop 33 percent (customer touches defined as an email or phone call into the call center), but walk-up business to the site went up 25 percent per month, to the point where is now a profitable business.

Happy customers mean more customers. More customers mean more happy customers. You know what I mean?