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Maybe This Guy Should Be Running Delta Air Lines

I recently blogged about a suboptimal customer service experience with Delta Air Lines. (As a couple of commenters pointed out — see Nos. 28, 36, and 44 — one of my assumptions was probably wrong, but that doesn’t change the thrust of the story very much.) So it’s nice to report a really good customer service experience.

We recently had a birthday party for one of my kids. My wife hired a small entrepreneur who runs an outfit called Simply Sports. He organizes summer sports camps, after-school programs, etc. In New York City, there’s a big market for such a product. The party was held in a gigantic public school gym and most of the kids had a great time playing dodgeball and flag football, and generally making mayhem. Then it was downstairs to the cafeteria for pizza and cake.

My wife had been expecting the Simply Sports boss to run the party. Instead, he sent a lieutenant and another guy. My wife had been expecting that the cafeteria would be all cleaned up and ready to host the party. Instead, she and a bunch of other moms had to hustle to scrub ketchup off the tables, etc.

Because my wife really likes the guy who runs Simply Sports and wants his business to succeed, she called him after the party to offer him some feedback. It should be said that she has had a lot of experience, both as a professional and a mom, with customer service interactions. She never berates, never loses her cool, and in this case she explicitly said she wasn’t asking for anything, no refund or apology, but she just wanted to let the guy know that he stood a better chance of success if he sharpened up his act.

So what did he do? He offered her a free one-hour sports session with him or one of his coaches for up to 12 kids.

Nice? Yes. Smart? Also yes. He’ll keep an existing customer by acknowledging and fixing a mistake; and he’ll have a chance to win new customers in the process when 11 other parents send their kids to this free sports playdate.

The Simply Sports guy probably isn’t the least bit interested in the job, but maybe he should be running Delta.