If you haven’t heard the story, Jet Blue is in the news right now, and not in a good way. An exhausted coach passenger was lamenting not having an eye mask. A good citizen in first class decided they weren’t using theirs, so why not give it to the coach passenger? Well, apparently, that is just not going to fly with Jet Blue. While we likely all know first class passengers can’t give alcoholic drinks to coach passengers, who knew that a face mask was also forbidden? The flight attendant asked the coach passenger for the mask back. The passenger offered to pay for the mask or even pay for the upgrade to first that was not available when he booked his ticket. No dice. The passenger was then informed they either give back what is likely a $2 item, or be booted off the plane and fined. He gave back the mask. And recorded the whole thing. Now Jet Blue is being inundated with bad press on national media sites as well as an onslaught of Tweets. (You can see some of the fun here: https://twitter.com/DCProgressive29/status/1404179489442127878). No surprise, Jet Blue is now “revisiting” their policy.
Now, what does this have to do with you and your business? Was the flight attendant technically correct? Probably, though some could argue the face mask became the property of the first class passenger to do with as he pleased. But in this day and age of everything being recorded, was the flight attendant very smart in how she handled the event? Not even close. Particularly when the passenger tried offering multiple solutions, and the impact was so small. This is for sure poor training on Jet Blue’s part. Do your employees know how to handle minor situations? Do they know when to let something go and when to press? Do they understand that most of their interactions, especially conflict, will be recorded and likely disseminated on social media? If they have the ability to threaten customers with something major, like being booted off an aircraft, do they know what circumstances warrant that and what are better left alone or dealt with at a later date? If not, why? No employee or company thinks they will end up going viral for something negative, right up until they do. Not every circumstance can be foreseen or avoided, but make sure you are training, training, and training some more when it comes to these types of situations. Otherwise, you too could end up going viral for all the wrong reasons.
Oh, and if you want to make sure your advertisements also won’t end up viral in a bad way, give us a call at Miller Ad Agency. We make sure the only press you’ll receive is the good kind.