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Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 at 11:27 am

Can Delta’s Blog Really Deliver A Change?

By Bryan Eisenberg
October 5th, 2007

delta_ad_on_yahoo_for_blog.pngDelta’s latest marketing campaign has been focused on how much the airline has changed. Although marketing has surely been told to make sincere promises, it seems the business has no intention of keeping them.

While reading the news on Yahoo! this morning, I stumbled upon this ad for Delta. I’m a frequent Delta flyer and I’ve seen some small, directional changes — but they have a long way to go. They’re going through the motions of realligning and rebranding, but new tactics can’t change one’s corporate DNA.

When you click through on the ad, it takes you to Delta’s Under the Wing blog. (Blogging is an amazing tactic for engaging in conversation with your customers. I even hear from my good friend Joe that Delta is twittering.) So, what happens on the blog? One might expect to learn more about the airline’s changes. Instead, I was presented with a rather drab (like the old Delta), but clean, design and a post called “How Does Delta Gather Customer Input?

Words can tell a lot about a company’s focus. I ran the text of this post through the customer focus (“We-we”) calculator and here are the results:

Your Customer Focus Rate: 17.39%
You have 4 instances of customer-focused words.

Your Self Focus Rate: 82.61%
You have 15 instances of self-focused words.
You have 4 instances of the Company Name.

You speak about yourself approximately 0,005 times as often as you speak about your customers.
Might that have an impact on your effectiveness?

Frank Wrenn, General Manager, Customer Insights & Analytics for Delta, wrote the post. Frank, I’d like to offer you and Delta my two cents:

1. The key to great customer insight and analysis is empathy. Don’t live by the surveys or the data; live with your customers. How often do you go through the process of booking and flying, just like the majority of your customer’s do? Want to improve the experience? Experience it like most people do. You’ll hate it. Really!

2. Show us you really care about listening to OUR voices. I believe you have honorable intentions, but your words are all about Delta. If you’d like to see how you could have changed your post from being all about how you gather data to why you want to hear from us, so you can improve the experience, I’d be happy to speak with you. I’d gladly share my experiences from the last 75,000 miles I’ve flown with Delta. Feel free to call me: (877) 643-7244 ext.801.

June6_2005MMM.jpgIs Delta serious about change? It will take more than a blog, some advertising, new uniforms, a new logo, some paint, and otherwise going through the motions.

The Greeks use the symbol delta to represent change because “Διαφορά” means “difference” in Greek. Will you really make a difference in customers’ lives, or will you be content putting lipstick on a pig?

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Comments (7)

  1. I’m flying Delta JFK to Budapest this coming weekend…so we shall see (I strongly suspect Pigs will be Flying.)

    Good example of when even if the company wants to change, it’s like turning an aircraft carrier (or DNA manipulation.)

    Oh – and note to Delta: People lie on surveys.

  2. Thanks, I’ve been wondering about Delta’s new blog and how effective it will be. Some of the posts seem unfocused, time to go past the ‘this is our new blog! whee’ posts, I think.

    Let us know if they call!

  3. Mary – You should wave as I pass by on another Delta flight to Istanbul Saturday. ROFLMAO – I wonder if marketers need a tattoo to remind them that people lie on surveys.

  4. My recent experience with Delta was horrible. After Delta refused to let me on a flight still at the gate 8 minutes before departure I had to rent a car to get home. They refused to even consider covering the cost of the rental car. After a couple of e-mail exchanges with customer service in which I asked a manager to call me to discuss my situation, they basicly said no to all request and never called me. Great treatment for one of their Million Miler, Platninum members. No change here!

    Done with Delta.

  5. Nothing is going to help delta unless they stick to their word. i was stuck in atlanta for two days, they cancelled all my flights due to voluntary inspections. they told me they would refund what i spent to take a cab and stay in a hotel, and the other airline ticket i bought because they could not get me to my destinations for another day, making my stay in atlanta wayy too long. now they are saying they will only refund half. and they gave me miles… ooo big deal miles does not pay my credit card bill that i would not have had to use if they would keep there planes up to date with inspections. they people there are just rude and they are trying to pull a fast one on us.. people dont let them and from my experience and hassle with delta, dont fly them its not worth it and there are better prices and flights out there.. good luck to all

  6. Imagine, making a marketing decision that makes the most loyal customer group very angry in one moment in time. The choice seating program took away the right to select decent seats for Platinum flyers at the time of reservation. This take away is so material to the ease and comfort of the Delta Platinum flyer that it is byeond belief that someone thought this program would be good. Whoever came up with this should wither be fired or have to listen to the calls into the call center where I am told one in two calls is a visceral reaction to the program by your best customers and in the three airports I have traveled through today, it seems that all yoru good customers are discussing is how they HATE this program. Please change this program so your best customers can reserve their seats at the time of reservation.

  7. ..]one another interesting source on this subjectis ,www.grokdotcom.com,..]

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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