When Inside-Out Trumps Outside-In, Customer Lose


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New American Airlines planes

Did you hear the one about American Airlines? They rebranded, re-logoed, and are doing their best to reinvent. It was a big deal; they invested 2 years and quite a bit of cash to get it right.

And yet…

The story they released is one of innovation and “putting you at the center of everything we do.” The only problem is their customers aren’t buying it. The explanation of what they’re doing is admirable, but it’s totally from their perspective.

@AmericanAir No it doesn’t. It’s just ugly. You fixed the ONLY thing that isn’t broken about your airline :(

Even the site with glossy images doesn’t show one picture of actual customers. It feels like they believe changing the logo and the look of their planes will change the experience. Nope. Not even close.

It’s All About Us…Oh, And You, Too, Thanks to Us!

The best thing any company can do is make their customers the stars. The worst is to pat yourself on the back for non-existent kudos. Behold this quote from American Airlines:

“We’re inspired by what we make possible – by our ability to connect you with the world around you.”

Customers care about connecting with the world, absolutely, but American doesn’t own exclusive rights to this. How odd to highlight being inspired by themselves. It is a perfect reflection of how the view of AA is firmly planted on the inside, looking out at the rest of us.

The Bright Spot of Social Media

In spite of all this, the social media team for American Airlines seems to truly be focused on the customers. Through good and bad, the social team has expanded their role and strikes the right tone of empathy and understanding. Kudos to them for surfing those emotional waves in a very human, real way. The interactions there probably add a lot to the brand’s reputation.

What American is Missing

Like so many companies, American is looking from the inside-out. They are thinking this paint job on the planes will fix the experience they are offering. They are forgetting to make their customers the stars. They think their two-year journey to a new logo is fascinating and earns loyalty.

Loyalty is earned. It is not automatically bestowed upon companies when we like a logo or hear a bunch of corporate-speak. This seems to be a miss. They would have been better off spending two years talking to customers, observing their true experiences, and improving it from the bottom up.

We could have waited for the new logo.

Photo credit: Canadian Pacific via Creative Commons license

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


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