Recently I received a letter from British Airways’ frequent flyer program, thanking me for my loyalty and providing me with a Golden Ticket. The letter mentioned the airline’s ongoing investment in new aircraft and cabin features. It also stated that service is fundamental to the delivery of their brand promise: “To Fly. To Serve.”
The letter goes on to introduce the Golden Ticket, which was personalized with my name. At first I thought it was a free upgrade voucher. I felt like Charlie in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” when he finds the golden ticket in a chocolate bar.
But this was not that type of golden ticket. The purpose of this British Airways Golden Ticket is for passengers to give to airline staff to recognize them for providing excellent customer service. The letter describes how to give a Golden Ticket award to their staff in person or via their website. The letter also includes statistics of the number of tickets awarded and examples of great customer feedback.
This program is effective in many ways: it helps to set customer expectations for great service, acknowledges staff members who give excellent service, helps the airline gather feedback about which staff are serving exceptionally well, and helps staff understand what is appreciated by the airline’s most loyal passengers.
There is no obligation for me to award this Golden Ticket to anyone. There is no expiration date. Passengers can reserve this for a moment when they enjoy a level of service they would like to experience more often. Learning where these moments occur helps the airline understand their loyal customers even better.
So “What’s In It For Me?” in awarding someone else with this Golden Ticket? Hopefully I will continue to enjoy high levels of service every time I fly. And by recognizing excellent service I will be encouraging individuals to keep stepping up, while helping the airline understand how to serve me even better.
It is a simple and small investment: a moment of my time for a long term payback in service. That’s not quite Willie Wonka, but it is a golden opportunity to uplift service in the world.
What do you think of this approach to customer engagement, staff recognition, and ongoing service improvement? What’s in it for you to provide recognition like this where you work?