Author: Patrick McCullough

Every year, 180 million customers board Delta Airlines flights. I, and many of my Hallmark peers, have the distinct pleasure of boarding many of these flights as we travel the world helping consumers and businesses learn to “Care Enough.”

As someone who is passionate about both customer and employee engagement, I want to give “kudos” to Delta and highlight how the company goes “above and beyond” in its efforts to deliver a great customer experience, and why those experiences truly matter in business today.

How Delta Leads the Way

Hallmark employees average approximately 5,000 flights a year, so it’s fair to say we know a thing or two about business travel and excellent airline service. Delta continues to raise the bar when it comes to putting the needs of the customer first, with some truly brilliant recent innovations. Here’s how:

1. They’ve mastered employee engagement.

A postcard says, “Thank you for making my journey great.” Delta delivers an excellent travel experience for customers, especially business people.

So far this year, I’ve received two “Kudos” from Delta. What does this mean? I had the opportunity to give exceptional Delta staff a virtual high five. Delta employees can redeem the “Kudos” via their internal system for gift cards and other perks. While it not only gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to surprise a Delta employee for a job well done, it’s also a great marketing tactic for the airline that links values to customer action.

Hallmark Business Connections finds a clear connection between both employee and customer satisfaction when a program like Delta’s is utilized. For example, we see it when our clients send Hallmark cards to their customers. It not only feels good to receive a Hallmark card, but sending one gives you “all the feels,” too. It also provides a sense of accomplishment and inclusion.

2. They focus on the customer experience.

From the pilots to the flight attendants, all employees on board (and on the ground) align with Delta’s brand and ethos, and treat their passengers with their core values in mind. Delta employees put extra focus on serving business customers, too, which makes it easier for those of us who fly more than 100 times a year.

Just this April, a Delta flight attendant went viral after helping a frazzled mom gently calm her young son with special needs. Her quick thinking, compassion and calming demeanor wowed folks all over the world—a phenomenal example of going above and beyond to serve the customer.

3. They don’t cut corners.

When so many airlines are trying to minimize costs at the expense of the customer, Delta does not. Named one of the world’s most innovative tech companies, Delta provides next-level flight experience technology. In 2018, Delta introduced fingerprint biometrics to increase efficiency for customers. Plus, the airline utilizes its own trailblazing weather app to boost flight safety and comfort. These moves helped Delta go up four places on the tech company list to land at the no. 2 spot among travel companies for, according to Fast Company, “taking customers from curb to gate with increasing ease.”

Why Customer Experience & Employee Engagement Matter

For successful companies like Delta, customer experience and employee engagement go hand in hand. According to one study, a 5% increase in employee engagement correlates to a 3% jump in revenue. And companies with happy employees also see 81% higher customer satisfaction.

81% of companies with happy employees also see 81% higher customer satisfaction, according to Aon.

Another study found that 63% of highly engaged employees always try their hardest at work, compared with 42% of disengaged employees. The same study also revealed that companies that excel at customer experience have “1.5 times as many engaged employees as do customer experience laggards.”

Bottom line: Happy employees mean happy customers. As a loyal Skymiles member, I can personally attest to that—and Delta gets it, too.

Joanne Smith of Delta said, “By taking care of our people and building a top-notch workplace, we power world-class service for our customers and strong financial results for our company.”

Employees and customers are the backbone of any thriving company.  Therefore, companies have much to gain from creating an environment where both employees and customers feel valued.

Unfortunately, not all companies understand this or just don’t know how to create such an environment. A Gallup study found that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged, which negatively impacts the customer experience over time. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Alt text: 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. This leads to negative customer experiences over time, according to Gallup.

Let Hallmark Help

Customer experience is important to both Hallmark Business Connections and the clients we work with. Because nobody has a greater impact on your customers’ experience than your frontline employees, our Customer Care program empowers them to strengthen those critical relationships in a positive way that’s simple and meaningful. Click here to learn more.