How an $8 glass of wine turned me into a life-long customer…


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I was flying back from a business trip last night from Chicago to Austin on American Airlines. The flight was fully booked, which seems to be the norm these days. It was chock-full with exhausted adults and crying children. After 3 days of productive meetings and long work-days, I was ready to just sleep in my own bed.

The flight attendant came around with beverage service. After I gave her my order, she asked the man next to me for his order. He asked for some white wine. “$8 please,” she said as she placed a small bottle of Sauvignon blanc on his airplane tray. “Here you go,” he replied, as he proceeded to give her some cash.

“Sir, we only take credit cards.”

“I only have cash,” he replied anxiously.

“I’m very sorry, we only accept cards,” she said firmly yet apologetically, as she reached back to take the wine bottle. “Would you like some water or soda instead?”

He shook his head no with a look of disappointment on his face as she proceeded on her way.

I would have offered to just pay for his drink but everything happened so fast. Lesson #1: Often, you literally have only a moment to meet (or exceed) customer expectation.

She continued serving drinks to some of the other passengers. About 15 minutes or so later, she came back to our row. “Sir, I’m just going to go ahead and give you the wine. I can tell that you need it. Enjoy!”

You should have seen the look on his face! Lesson #2: If you can make things right for your customer, do it.

The flight attendant turned to me and asked “Would you like a complimentary bottle as well?” I replied “No, but thanks so much for offering!” She asked the other person on our row and he declined as well. I sat there, quite impressed by this small gesture of generosity. Lesson #3: If your organization has an opportunity to not only exceed expectation but also delight your customer, do it.

I get it, $8 isn’t much money. But it’s a small and profoundly powerful gesture. Because of this kind interaction, the next time I have to book a flight, I will go with American. And there’s a good chance that the others in my row will do the same.

Competition is quite fierce these days; how is your organization stacking up to your competitors? Are you creating loyal customers who will become brand evangelists? And here’s a better question to ponder: if your customer encounters a problem with your company and needs a solution, how are you solving for it?

Mattersight is a company that works with Fortune 500 companies to improve customer interactions in the call center space. Call centers get over 250 Million calls a day with customers (often frustrated ones) who need their problems solved, and fast. Technology such as Predictive Behavioral Routing gives organizations the capability in a millisecond to literally pair agents with customers they are best-equipped to connect with, based on personality style and other behavioral characteristics. This type of technology profoundly improves CX, customer satisfaction, and other business metrics. The routed calls are significantly shorter and those conversations are more effective. Both the call center agents and the customers who are calling in are happier; it’s an optimal connection. Win-win!

Provide your employees with empowerment to delight customers; your organization will quickly see the ROI. Invest in technology such as behavioral analytics and predictive behavioral routing to become (and stay) a market leader.

I will leave you with this question to ponder: is your organization taking the necessary steps to create customers for life?

Jaime Safianow
WIth over 10 years as a top sales/business development executive working with the Fortune 500, Jaime has a diverse perspective on how to improve key business metrics such as CX, CSAT, and improving customer loyalty. She leverages her sales, marketing and advertising background to connect with organizations on an emotional level.She consults with enterprise brands on how AI, Omnichannel, Digital Innovation & Technology can increase sales and improve CX.


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