One of the keys to customer satisfaction is to set expectations correctly and then meet those expectations.
But customer expectations can be reset by your competition, raising the bar for your product or service offerings.

Example of Revamped Expectations:

I read an article in USA Today called Is this seat taken? Airlines add ‘social seating’ programs, new programs by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, are letting passengers share their social-network profiles or photos and pick seatmates before the flight, using platforms like Facebook and Linkedin.

According to the article “KLM’s Meet & Seat and Malaysia Airlines’ MHbuddy “social-seating” programs can let you see whether other stockbrokers or insurance industry executives will be on the same plane or whether someone is flying to San Francisco to attend the same business meeting.”  Alternately, you can view the social media profiles of passengers who have opted in, and pick seatmates before the flight.

You might find other interesting people from your own organization on a flight, of one of your customers, or someone in your industry or profession or even a friend that might make the flight more interesting or someone to share a cab with going to the same location.

There are pros and cons to these offerings, to be sure. Some might feel that they are being ‘targeted’ and they can opt out.


At the time of writing this article,  US  airlines had not stepped up to offering similar services. Jet Blue, American and Delta, although aware of the programs, had no plans to adopt it yet.

I mentioned this feature to a passenger seated next to me on a recent flight and he seems most intrigued. So I happened to have the USA today paper that highlighted this offering with me and offered it to him to read. He was most impressed.

What happens when a feature like this is mentioned by a widely read newspaper? The pressure on local US airlines to offer a similar service increases. As more airlines adopt a similar offering, it will become table stakes and part of a customer’s expectations that all airlines will offer it. So even if an airline has not promised that it provides a ‘choose your seatmate’ application, it will become ‘what customers expect’.

What is your opinion? Leave your comments below.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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