Excess for Success

Discussion
Jan 16, 2003
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By Al
McClain


At the recent FMI Midwinter Executive Conference, Ann Rhoades, Vice President of People at JetBlue Airways, shared some of the company’s unorthodox methods for success. (JetBlue is one of the first airlines to make a profit in its first full year of operations – in the midst of the 9-11 crisis.)


Here are some of Ms. Rhoades thoughts regarding treating their employees (crew) and customers:


CREW EXCESSES


  1. STOCK for all, pre-IPO – this includes ALL employees, from the ground up, who were able to buy JetBlue stock for as little as $1 per share

  2. PILOT CONTRACTS – gave their pilots the contracts they wanted, without negotiation

  3. IMMEDIATE BENEFITS – no waiting period when hired

  4. PROFIT SHARING – eligible in your first year of employment

  5. HOME BASED RESERVATIONS – allow reservations agents to do their jobs from HOME

  6. PTO – personal time off – allow crew to have 21 days per year initially to use as they see fit for holidays and vacation, eliminating problems caused by various religious beliefs and personal needs

  7. 24 HOUR RESPONSE TIME – maximum time to get question answered by HQ

  8. INDIVIDUALIZED TREATMENT – rather than employee manuals, they customize work to the individual and treat each person that way

  9. CONSTANTLY ASSESS STATE OF CREW – always asking for input

  10. OK TO COME BACK – if you leave JetBlue, and were doing a good job, the door is always open for you to come back

CUSTOMER EXCESSES


  1. FREE TV at all seats

  2. FREE CELL PHONES to make call if plane is late

  3. SIMPLE PRICING – roundtrip equals one way x 2, no Saturday night stay required

  4. NEVER OVERSELL FLIGHTS

  5. FLAWLESS EXECUTION

  6. 162 vs. 180 SEATS on planes

  7. CANDOR ABOUT DELAYS

  8. 99% COMPLETION RATE – even if there is a weather or mechanical delay, they eventually get there

  9. BRAND NEW AIRBUS FLEET

  10. FREE VIDEOS AND FOOD IF DELAYED

  11. 24 HOUR CUSTOMIZED RESPONSE to complaints

  12. $50 COMP certificate if 2 hours late, full refund if four hours late

The bottom line, JetBlue has a motto of “Find a Way to Yes!”


Moderator’s Comment: What lessons can retailers learn
from JetBlue’s experience?


Something tells us that 43 percent of JetBlue employees
are not planning to look for other jobs outside the company in the next year.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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