When I first met Frankie Littleford and the JetBlue team last year, I knew there was something special about her and her entire team. First, as crewmember #8, she was part of the founding team of JetBlue that contributed to building the first mission of the company – bring humanity back to air travel. And from those early days, Frankie has now grown the Customer Support team to nearly 3,000 crewmembers. In fact, it’s her voice that you hear when you call into JetBlue.
But what caused me to pause was this – at that first meeting, sitting on the table in front of her was the JD Power award for customer service which they have won for 12 out of the past 13 years. I must admit, that as the CEO of a customer service software company proposing a new way to think about customer service, seeing that award was a bit intimidating.
Yet, I learned very quickly that we, at Gladly, share the same focus that has made JetBlue what it is today. Simply put, it’s about people.
And today, we are thrilled to announce that JetBlue is a customer and strategic partner.
We built Gladly with a vision to put people back at the center of customer service, and as we built it, we had companies like JetBlue in mind. JetBlue knows that focusing on customer service and support differentiates you from the competition.
Since the beginning, JetBlue has been an innovator in the industry – from never overbooking flights, to having the most legroom, to building the first contact center using at-home workers to the first to use social platforms to connect with customers. To go beyond the status quo and deliver personalized service across any communication channel is what drove their desire to select Gladly as their next customer service platform. Their desire to continue to inspire humanity and their amazing crewmembers is what keeps them winning awards and most importantly the hearts and minds of their customers. As Frankie put it best, “We want to make every conversation more of a relationship instead of a transaction. Gladly helps us do that.”
Why Gladly for JetBlue?
We built Gladly to put people back at the center of service, not support tickets or case numbers. At the core of our platform, people have replaced cases and tickets. Why? Because do you know who said “I want to be treated like a case!”? No one. Ever.
Consumers today want to communicate with companies the same way they do with their friends and family. It’s not about the communication channel, it’s about the person behind it. Whether it’s a phone call, an email, a text message or a Facebook message, people want continuity in their conversations with businesses they talk to. In fact, our 2017 Customer Service Expectations Survey found more than 80% of consumers want to use multiple channels beyond email and phone. They want to simply pick up where they left off – whether they switch from a chat session to a phone call, or move from a Facebook Messenger conversation to a text to an email. They don’t want to have to repeat themselves or recap their issues. Gladly empowers companies to deliver an experience that is one continuous conversation, independent of the channel.
Unfortunately, technology platforms that most companies use today were built over 20 and 30 years ago. This was before the iPhone ever existed. It is hard to imagine a time when we didn’t depend on our devices for almost everything, and the companies that built these systems back then could not have imagined how the iPhone and our era of instant everything would change the way communication happens. Fast forward to the 21st century and companies are working hard to build lasting relationships with their customers to deliver personalized experiences. Yet, these same companies are still trying to do this on decades old technology that puts communication into separate silos and cases, forcing customer service agents to go through, at times, 5 different systems just to help one customer. No wonder customers get frustrated when they have to repeat themselves. And remember the leading, cloud-based customer service platforms are 20 years old and, and business to business focused case management systems. While that model might work for supporting a business to business company, it doesn’t exactly engender a lifelong and personal relationship with consumers. Especially if you have to address them as Case Number 45372.
When we met Frankie, we knew that her team was different. They were already doing an excellent job at service, but their vision to enable customers to use the channel of their choice, while maintaining that human element is what spoke to us. And we instantly connected over the shared vision to do away with case numbers and get back to focusing on the people behind them.
As Frankie and her team put it, “Our crewmembers are already reactively having these amazing conversations with customers as they write or call in. With Gladly, we can go one step further and be proactive at delivering exceptional experiences that surprise and delight.”
Within the customer support center, Gladly allows crewmembers to have a single view of the customer, a lifetime of previous conversations in a single screen. When crewmembers answer that email or pick up the phone, they can spend more time focusing on what matters most – the person, and less time getting up to speed on what previous conversations have happened and their history with the company.
Co-pilots in the Customer Service Cockpit
Gladly is fired up to partner with JetBlue to deliver an experience that will keep customers delighted and loyal while helping JetBlue stay on the top of the list when it comes to the best service in any industry, not just the airlines.
And when JetBlue asked if they could partner even more closely by investing in Gladly we thought it would only cement our partnership. JetBlue Technology Ventures led a deep dive effort to find new technology to align with an initiative they called “The Future of the Contact Center,” and they determined Gladly to be one of the most innovative companies in customer service. And we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Bonny Simi, President of JTV on both sides of the partnership.
Nonstop to Delight
Having JetBlue as a customer, partner, and friend is invaluable. We are excited to be working together to reinvent what customer service means today and in the future. Fasten your seat belts, we’re about to take off.