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Mike Henny and Cheryl Scheck, Directors of Customer Experience at Delta, spoke recently about Delta’s relationship with Porsche, which started in Atlanta in 2011.

Where did the idea of using Porsches to transfer customers come from, and how was the program brought to life?

Mike Henny: It was really a combination of factors. We already had some vehicles out at the airport that were Delta vehicles used to ferry people for special circumstances. Porsche (was) also moving their U.S. headquarters to a space just down the road from our headquarters here at the airport.

So that started a series of conversations that essentially were, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get some of the Porsche vehicles on the airport?’ and use it as a means of providing some additional service for customers. Delta could determine who those customers should be and get some additional visibility for Porsche, particularly since they will have their experience centered right next to the airport.

We realized pretty quickly that it was a good opportunity for us to take a list of our highest value customers going through the airport on any particular day and identify who’s going to need the most help getting to their connections.

Porsche and Delta aircraft

What types of things have we seen from a customer satisfaction standpoint and what types of things have we learned about the program?

MH: The feedback has been very strong. The customers love it! Many of them have said, ‘This has solidified my relationship with Delta,’ and leads them to being more loyal to Delta. That sort of feedback has been very positive and pretty consistent.

The broader impact on metrics is the overall visibility that the program gets. It shows Delta as a leader and as an innovator. It also shows Delta as a company that is really investing in a material way to improve the customer experience. That’s really starting to have impacts on our customer satisfaction metrics and definitely supports our long-term goals.

 

What are some of the unique challenges that you’ve faced as we rolled out the program and continued to expand it?

MH: There are certain things you can anticipate and there are some things that you can’t. Even the ones that you identify early can be a challenge at times. For example, we knew that expanding to Minneapolis/St. Paul, we would have colder weather to deal with than we do in Atlanta. And as a result, we knew we needed to think about 4-wheel drive and SUVs. We also know that there are certain days where the ramp is slick and it isn’t safe to operate. We aren’t going to put customers, employees or the vehicles at risk on those types of days.

Cheryl Scheck: Another thing that we are starting to review are the super high-level customers,  from a metrics perspective and we’ve started to track  how we’re taking the bad parts of an experience and turning it around to something good. While it’s still hard to get a measure of customer satisfaction in these situations, when you look at complaints from the segments of customers who have the service, we’re seeing a decline in number of complaints. This goes right back to the hard work and the dedication of the people on the front-line.

 

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