What kind of service deserves a letter?

I am quite a fan of sending an email to customer service when I get notable service, both good and bad. As I told American in a recent letter, “Good companies use their customer service to identify areas for improvement, not simply to placate disgruntled customers.” Having worked in customer service call center, I truly believe this. The letters don’t have to be long, and mine usually aren’t.

I know several people who write letters when anything goes wrong on an airline, in an attempt to receive compensation in the form of vouchers or frequent flyer miles. I advise against doing this often. Airlines track how much compensation they give out and some people have suffered the consequences of being too greedy. There are very few letters I write to airlines, hotels, etc. where I request compensation. I save that request for only the most extreme situations.

As a rule, I try to write as many positive letters as I write negative letters. This helps me keep balance and perspective. Since I usually fly 4-6 flights a week, if I dwelled on every negative experience, I probably would live a very miserable life.

What kind of good service gets a letter written?

Part of my normal commute is a 40-ish minute flight between Chicago and Indianapolis on American Eagle. On this route, the most service I have ever seen has been a flight attendant coming through offering water. To be fair, American’s service parameters probably specify that no drink service needs to be given on flights under a certain distance. Some flight attendants walk through with a bottle of water and glasses, but that’s the most I’ve ever seen on this route.

Enter Carol, the flight attendant I had on my most recent Indianapolis to Chicago flight. Despite only having about 20 minutes to do it, she pulled out the drink cart and gave a full beverage service. I was (pleasantly) shocked and thanked her for going above and beyond.

This is the kind of service that gets a letter of praise written and, if I have one on me, a recognition certificate (something the airlines give out to high-level elite frequent flyers) handed to the employee. I asked Carol for her full name and employee number.

Readers, what causes you to write a note of praise? What causes you to complain?

One thought on “What kind of service deserves a letter?

  1. I often send in letters for people lower on the totem pole that offer standout service, for instance call center customer service reps that really try and commuter aircraft flight attendants.

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