Delta Sends Customer Service Reps to 'Charm School'

After Delta Airlines ranked last among major carriers in customer service for three quarters last year, 11,000 employees are being sent to 'charm school.'

According to the Wall Street Journal, every staff member who comes face-to-face with customers is going through a renewed training program. That means every ticket counter, gate and baggage agent, as well as supervisors, will go through the program.

The classes will have employees role-play scenarios with angry or confused travelers, training employees to be empathetic and listen to customers. The lessons also teach employees to stop apologizing for baggage fees, and instead explain Delta's "a la carte" program.

"That is a better way to have that conversation," Michael Hazelton, a Delta agent who works as a facilitator for the training program tells the newspaper. "You may think you are bonding with the customer by agreeing the fees are horrible, but the customer thinks, 'this person just threw his company under the bus.'"

The classes are part of the carrier's $2 billion improvement plan. The airline is also hiring 1,000 additional employees, and putting the entire team in a position to deliver better service by increasing the inventory of spare parts and airplanes.

Delta had the highest rate of customer complaints filed with the Department of Transportation during the first three quarters of last year, and came in second-to-last in baggage handling through November.

According to a Delta spokesman, this is the first time a training program has been devoted exclusively to customer service in the past decade.

Photo, Joe Shlabotnik, flickr
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