When we think of miracles, we often look up to the sky. But, last December, it was on the ground that our United team pulled off a much needed Christmas miracle.
United customers Katie and Brad Williams, along with their toddler, Griffin, had just missed their flight to Florida to ring in the holidays and celebrate their grandma’s 90th birthday with the entire family. “The other airline said our next flight is three days from now,” says Katie, who was six months pregnant at the time. “We don’t see each other very often. The thought of missing Christmas and Grandma’s birthday was heart-wrenching.” Panicked that their holiday would be ruined, Katie went to the United counter to see if they could help. That’s where she met DEN Customer Service Representative (CSR) Coley White.
“He immediately sprung to action and looked at every possible solution to get us where we needed to go,” Katie recalls. Thirty minutes later, he had the family rerouted on a new flight, even sitting together! “I was in tears,” she says, “and he had me laughing by the end of our time together.”
As they left the counter and raced to the gate, Katie noticed Coley’s name tag. “We thought Coley was a nice name and put Cole on our list,” she says. “He did save Christmas for us. I have to admit, we were a little enamored.”
Three months later, Katie and Brad’s son was born, and they named him Cole. Today, he is 8 months old, and he recently met Coley for the first time. It just goes to show, sometimes miracles happen not only in the skies but on the ground—even at an airline.
Technology to Empower
We have more than 15,000 customer service representatives like Coley in the United family. They’re the professionals who serve you at gates and ticket counters, and they’re often the best resource to solve problems in the moment when things don’t go to plan—the times with the highest stakes and zero margin for error— because we all know what it’s like to be in the situation Katie, Brad, and Griffin found themselves in on Christmas.
To help serve our customers better than ever, we’ve put tens of thousands of mobile devices into the hands of folks like Coley and his colleagues, as well as our flight attendants, which allows them to understand every aspect of your itinerary and anticipate your needs. They will know where something has gone wrong in your journey and how we can make it right, providing instant rebooking, hotel accommodations, vouchers, upgrades, and reward miles in compensation. Technology is also empowering our gate agents to know when it makes sense to hold a flight a few extra minutes so a customer can make a tight connection, while still making sure the flight arrives at its destination on-time.
Now, we are embarking on our biggest venture yet to put our service agents in the best possible position to serve you, with Backstage 2020. We are welcoming all of our CSRs to a special venue near our headquarters in Chicago, where over two immersive days individualized groups will participate in practical, hands-on activities. It’s an idea that began last year with our flight attendants. That program was a home run, and that’s why we’re expanding to include more members of the United family to align around best practices, learn about new customer service innovations, and get a behind-the-scenes look at everything we’re planning to introduce over the coming year.
Whether it’s in the sky or on the ground, our team is dedicated to making miracles happen when you most need them and, perhaps, least expect them. That’s why we love what we do, and with the opening of Backstage, stand-out members like Coley will be able to serve you better than ever.