The Who And What Of JetBlue

I recently spoke at Allegiance’s customer event in Deer Valley, UT. One of the other keynote speakers was Vicky Stennes, VP of In-Flight Experience at JetBlue. Stennes described how the following JetBlue values define “who” the company is:

  • Safety
  • Caring
  • Integrity
  • Fun
  • Passion

She also discussed how the JetBlue Experience is “what” the customers see. These experiences are driven by the atitude of its employees, what Stennes called “Jetitude.” She listed five behaviors that define “Jetitude:”

  • Be in Blue always
  • Be personal
  • Be the answer
  • Be engaging
  • Be thankful to every customer

One of Stenne’s anecdotes showed JetBlue’s well-developed understanding of customer experience.  When the company designed it’s new T5 terminal in JFK airport, the airline invested in cushioning the security area to make it more comfortable for TSA agents. Why? Happier agents are more likely to deliver a good experience to customers.

My take: JetBlue operates consistently with my 6 Laws of Customer Experience, especially the 5th law: “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” It’s impossible to deliver a consistently high level of customer experience if you don’t:

  • Recognize the importance of your employees
  • Define the behaviors that reflect your brand (who you are as a company)
  • Hire employees that are most likely to demonstrate those behaviors
  • Invest in training and tools that help employees demonstrate those behaviors
  • Measure, incent, and celebrate those behaviors

The bottom line: Most companies could use more Jetitude

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

7 Responses to The Who And What Of JetBlue

  1. Tim Sanchez says:

    It’s very interesting (and brilliant) that JetBlue is looking at more than just the airplane experience. The security line is often the most trying experience for a traveler, so focusing more resources and attention to that makes perfect sense.

  2. Kancha says:

    am UK based so not too aware of how JetBlue talk about themselves in their marketing and wondered if they talk about ‘jetitude’ ? If they don’t, maybe they should tell stories like the one mentioned. The attention to detail illustrated by the anecdote is very attractive…I’d also love to know how they got to the insight which inspired the cushions.
    quite a contrast with what’s happening at the moment with BA..

  3. Elizabeth B. says:

    It has a huge effect on customer service and the entire customer experience when the employees that deal face to face with the customers are actually empowered to help them.

  4. Nate Bagley says:

    Love this – “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.”

    When employees feel like their efforts are acknowledged and that they are making a difference, they are far more willing to meet and even exceed expectations.

    It reminds me of this video by Dan Pink and RSA Animate that talks about key motivators for employees. They are not financial, as many managers would believe. Money rarely makes people perform exceptionally. It’s purpose, mastery and autonomy. (Watch it if you haven’t, it’s well worth the 10 min.)

  5. I’m with Nate on loving the quote about unengaged employees. I think that’s where I worry the most, especially relative to growth. If you start a company, you as an owner are fully invested in what your customers think of you. When you start to grow and have to hire employees, this is where you bear some risk relative to your customer service.

    Why would your employees care about what your customers think? It’s not *their* company after all, so why should it matter? It’s VERY important to keep employees engaged so they share your feelings about/interest in the happiness of your customers.

    Thanks for the great post.

  6. Great post. There are two airlines in Canada that are having similar success and in both cases it stems from having their employees act like owners and more importantly feel like owners. Porter Airlines and West Jet have the friendliest employees I have ever encountered and I do travel a lot. Porter Airlines takes it to another level with their own airport located in downtown Toronto, they have also started building their own lounges in other airports only you do not need to be a frequent flyer to enjoy the perks, they value all their customers. 90+% of flights are ahead of schedule and you get a meal and free drinks (wine and beer included). I could go on, they have successfully created outstanding customer experience.

  7. Bruce….great post. How ironic that it is once again an airline that is speaking to the power of treating their employees well…and they in turn will treat their customers well…It works…It’s the simple theory of reciprocity.

    In the book “Moments of Truth” Jan Carlzon said: “Last year each of our ten million customers came in contact with approximately five SAS employees, and this contact lasted an average of 15 seconds each time. The SAS is ‘created’ 50 million times a year, 15 seconds at a time. These 50 million ‘moments of truth’ are the moments that ultimately determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as a company. They are the moments when we must prove to our customers that SAS is their best alternative.”, Carlzon, Jan: Moments of Truth, 1987, p. 3

    It is still the interaction of people that is the basis of an excellent customer experience.

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