Sure, Alaska Listens, But do they Care?
After nearly 4 years of living in Seattle and flying Alaska Airlines almost exclusively, here are a few of my thoughts when it comes to their customer service.
Among the many things I like about Alaska, like their delivering a pizza to my house, or their awesome 20-minute bag guarantee, or their giving away thousands of free flights, there’s one thing I love the most above all. That one thing is the way they have treated me since the first time I flew them. It is almost… familial, in the same way you feel when you visit your grandma, who gives you cookies and tells you how thin you look even when you’ve put on 20 pounds in the past six months.
I got to Gold 75K with them shortly after we moved to Seattle since we travel
a lot just enough. The treatment kept getting better as I went up the elite levels. And I don’t mean just the treatment onboard. Their customer service call center, especially the dedicated 75K line, is very responsive and quite useful. Whether you need to correct a name on your reservation, or you totally screwed up you whole family’s tickets and need help to sort it out. They talk to you as a human being and are willing to put their best foot forward, fully explain, and even sometimes make exceptions that other companies wouldn’t.
It’s a level of service I love and have come to expect every time I interact with any Alaska Air employee. It is the level of service that sets our own organic, non-GMO, free range, cage-free Alaska apart from other more ‘corporate’ airlines.
So why am I always frustrated after filling out an Alaska Listens survey?
It occurred to me to go back to some of the emails I have received from their customer service center to try to figure it out.
Disclaimer: I’m only including some examples here and this isn’t the totality of my exchanges with them. I have filled out plenty of Alaska Listens surveys with excellent feedback, for which no followups were required. I don’t want y’all to think all I do is bitch even if it feels that way sometimes 🙂
- After submitting an Alaska Listens about a really rude flight attendant in First Class:
- After submitting an Alaska Listens about my eternal struggle with them serving 50 shades of chicken and not offering their fruit and cheese platter as a free option in First.
- After submitting an Alaska Listens survey about their Gogo service being unavailable during the whole flight, as well as their Beyond entertainment system and not having tablets on offer.
All of them contain the following phrase or a very slight variation of it:
By taking the time to contact us and giving us your feedback, you have not only given me the opportunity to hear your concerns, but also an opportunity to be proactive in preventing a similar situation from occurring again.
This frustrates me like nothing else. Should it frustrate me? Probably not, but like I said, I have come to expect a certain level of service in every interaction, and a templated copy-paste response is anything but. It tells me that, although I have taken the time to contact them and give them my feedback, they have decided to pass on the opportunity to provide the same excellent level of customer service I, and many others, have come to expect and that truly does set them apart from their competition.