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How Delta Actually Listened to Its Customers – and It Paid Off


Delta made an unpopular move among its customers but used the feedback to its advantage.

Not every decision your business makes will be popular among your customers — especially ones that take away their perks.

Delta Air Lines recently made a move that did just that. They announced a couple of restrictions on their Sky Club memberships. One was limiting the hours that members could access Sky Clubs and the other prevented them from visiting the clubs once they arrived at their destination.

They received substantial criticism following the announcement, according to Inc. In response, they didn’t ignore it or just apologize for it. They did something more difficult: They listened and changed their policy.

Here’s what Delta said in an email to customers following the criticism:

“Last week we announced updates to our Delta Sky Club access policy with the intention of improving your experience during the busy summer months. We heard your feedback in response to the updates, including that some customers want to visit a Club to refresh after landing or to recharge ahead of a meeting. We value your input — and we’ve acted on it. Just as you can today, customers with Delta Sky Club access may continue to use Clubs upon arrival.” 

Delta scrapped the part where members couldn’t visit their Sky Clubs upon arrival — which is sometimes crucial for passengers who want to change or shower before getting where they need to go.

The criticism could have been a huge setback for Delta. Customers might have turned to other airlines’ membership clubs because they didn’t see as much value in Delta’s. But they used the opportunity to make their customers feel heard — and more importantly, valued.

This is an important lesson in hospitality. Not every rollout is going to be smooth. Whatever industry you’re in, there are opportunities to take your customers’ input and use it to improve.

In Delta’s case, they received criticism and reacted to it.

If you really want to make your customers happy, it’s best to get ahead of the curve and ask for feedback proactively. Here are some ways you could do that:

  • Send out surveys via email or newsletters
  • Ask for feedback on social media
  • Create a profile on Trustpilot where customers can leave reviews
  • Check your Google My Business reviews
  • Create an area on your website where customers can leave feedback

There’s nothing groundbreaking about getting feedback. What you can learn from Delta is that the real value is in actually acting on that feedback.

You don’t have to wait until you’re flooded with negative feedback to make useful changes that resonate with your customers. If you get ahead of the problem, you make positive changes without risking your reputation.

There’s room for improvement in every business — and your customers can often tell you where to start.