It’s So Simple from the Outside In

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Every process is perfectly constructed to produce the results it does. And we saw another example of this recently.

The airline industry touts their customer focus, despite most people’s experience to the contrary.

Many people who work in the industry might like to help, but the process they work in often prevents it. As Deming noted about business in general 50+ years ago.

One of our team was traveling from San Jose to Cincinnati, connecting through Los Angeles. We bought the ticket about two weeks in advance, and he was never assigned a seat, which is a red flag. When he went online to check in and see if he could get an assigned seat, still no luck. In fact he got a notice the flight was over-booked and they were looking for “possible” volunteers.

This prompted a call Delta to see if they would rather reroute him from San Francisco where there were many seats available, rather than have him fly to LA and then get stuck. The agent he talked to was sympathetic but she said that she was unable to reroute him even though the flight was possibly over-booked because their policy did not allow it.

When he got to LA, they were indeed WAY over-booked and were at $800 vouchers to try to get people to take a later flight. Unfortunately, while there had been seats from San Francisco to Cincinnati, there were none left from LA.

They got him to Cincinnati on that flight, but they paid at least $800 to someone else to let him. They could have had a happy customer, who was telling a different story, had they simply allowed him to help them help him. They would have also saved at least $800.

Every process is perfectly constructed to produce the results it does.

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