Even after practicing law for 18 years, underneath my general air of confidence and my excess precaution with much of what I do lies a deep fear that at any minute, I could screw up in a major, big time way. But now, courtesy of Jet Blue, there's a lesson from the school of real life marketing on how to you can begin to deal with the fallout from those inevitable gaffes (or not).
This article, Jet Blue's Survival School offers a run down on some of whatJet Blue's done right since everything went so terribly wrong with its Valentines' Day Meltdown. Most significantly, Jet Blue's CEO, David Neeleman has stepped up to the plate to take responsibility and apologize:
But rather than hide behind his desk and speak through a flunky, Neeleman stepped up. He assessed the situation early on and spoke to the press. He explained exactly what went wrong and apologized. He said he felt "mortified" and "humiliated." That culminated Tuesday when he appeared on CNN's American Morning, Today, Fox and Friends and Squawk Box before most people arrived at work. He's been so visible, appearing live on so many media outlets, that it's a quasi-miracle he's been able to traverse New York City traffic to make the appointments.
I've read that good bedside matter often spares doctors, and other professionals from malpractice. So Neeleman's apology, as well as the compensation (free flights and refunds) and a Passenger Bill of Rights put him on the right track to making amends. Still, Jet Blue's efforts may not suffice to win back the affections of customers such as the one who started the blog, Jet Blue Hostage and has collected at least 150 stories from other passengers seriously inconvenienced by Jet Blue.