Competing with last best experiences

How United blew their one shot at capturing a high value customer from Delta. One shot to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Competing with last best experiences
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime ...
— Eminem, Lose Yourself

As this year rolls over to 2020 I will have flown 125,000 miles. Five times around the world visiting customers, partners and learning more about my employer's market. As a result I hold platinum status with two airlines, and soon enough close to Diamond with Delta.

This story is how United blew their one shot at capturing a high value customer from Delta. It's a story of how every business now has one shot to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

We begin with a frequent flyer hack called a "status match". It's a way to secure status with an airline competing with your primary carrier. Most airlines do this, if you ask. I did the match for several reasons, most of them illogical and emotional, but intended to provide more flexibility as a new role at Tiny sees me create and build our global partner marketing program (channel, co-marketing for those in the biz).

Having completed the match in half the required time, I called United to ask whether they would extend a status match to Premier 1K. It's their highest, public frequent flyer tier. I was advised to email the United address provided as part of the platinum match I completed. Okay, easy.

You are competing with the last best experience your customer had.
— Kirsten Kelley, GM Marketing @ HCL Technologies

Except it wasn't. All email from United during the platinum match was "no-reply". Time is the most important asset any of us have, and since I don't know how much I have remaining, I chose the path of least resistance. Flights to Boston, Austin, Ottawa, and Paris were booked with Delta. (All will be completed before mid-December.)

United is now my backup airline, for times when Delta's routing (and maybe pricing) fails. They could have been my first choice.

The point is that United had one shot. One shot to take a call from a frequent flyer and deliver the best customer experience in that moment. And that moment only.

This is now a fundamental truth for every business. Yours. Mine. Every, single, one. We have one shot. One chance to deliver amazing, memorable, loyalty capturing customer experiences.

How do you know which customer matters? Should United's phone rep have known that I was likely to spend $5K and fly 27,000 miles before the holidays? Well, yes actually. United's predictive modeling should know, and it should have informed their call center rep.

For other businesses without the technology to do this, it's much harder. For them, every customer matters. Which is  how every business should approach customer relationships anyway. Everyone matters. We're all competing the last best experience our customer had. You get one shot.

Eminem, Lose Yourself

^^ nsfw