To: JetBlue Human Resource Department
From: Rowe Consulting
Date: October 15, 2015
Re: Service Recovery Strategy
After the Valentine's Day disaster, JetBlue’s image and positioning in the competitive landscape is
severely affected, especially since the handling of the emergency contradicted the company's
slogan, “bringing humanity back to air travel.” Customers and critics of the airline industry are
wary of JetBlue’s core values and if CEO, and founder, David Neeleman has the proper
management skills to oversee day-to-day operations. In order to regain confidence in the market,
JetBlue and its team needs to implement a strategy for service recovery that would aid in
improved customer relationships, and their dominant stance in the airline industry. Furthermore,
major strategies and protocols must be implemented to ensure the company has the resources and
tactics necessary to handle any future situations effectively; preventing another catastrophic
outcome in the future.
Although the Valentine's Day storm affected every airline on the east coast route, JetBlue was the
negative focal point in media coverage. Even though David Neeleman and the Public Relations
team at JetBlue gave their sincere apologies and took a strong, progressive role on service
recovery, the JetBlue image was tarnished, acting as a precedent for this type of state of
emergency to never happen again in the aviation industry.
Moving forward, it is vital that JetBlue implements precautionary and recovery plans to avoid
future weather disasters; impacting consumer safety, company profits, as well as their brand
image and reputation.
It is recommended that JetBlue invests in redesigning their IT infrastructure to have the ability to
handle mass-inquiries during peak times and/or emergencies with the aid of a strong reservation
system. This IT structure should also allow for quick and efficient rebooking, allowing agents to
handle customers travel disruptions effectively. Going beyond their reservation system, JetBlue
should expand their methods of contact by incorporating a public relations team to respond to
social media concerns, blog posts, and weather-related inquiries.
Furthermore, JetBlue should create a service recovery plan that combats any potential service
failure points concerning future travel delays. This consists of policies and practices for any
communications with the customer, coping mechanisms to handle complaints and concerns and
an emphasis of timely, routine updates travel updates. Continuous screening of weather
conditions will allow for decisions to be made about cancelling and rebooking flights, rather than
trying to postpone them in unrealistic conditions.
Lastly, safety precautions must be enforced: a supply of food and water for delayed passengers
must be on hand at every location and generators should be incorporated to prevent power and air
Training on internal communications should also take place in order for all employees to be on
the same page with status updates or new information. Reporting lines should be clarified- both
vertically and horizontally, so that there is consistency in the interactions with the customer.
In order to successfully implement the service recovery plan and restructuring of the current IT
platform, JetBlue needs to take an aggressive approach in an action plan for these attainable
goals. The action plan is scaled down in a realistic timeline composed of short term (0 to 6
months), medium term (6 months to 1 year), and long-term (1 year and greater) durations.
Short-term (0 to 6 months):
Within the first six months, JetBlue should introduce a “Weather Alert” department that strands
from the Customer Service department. Each team should be composed of 50 employees within
every city that JetBlue operates in. Since this is a pilot program, JetBlue will minimize overhead
by having its employees work from home, having the essentials such as Internet connection, a
headset, and the proper software on their computers. The weather department will be responsible
for handling inquiries about weather related conditions and delays by working closely with the
Aviation Association, tracking flights and their estimated durations. This minimizes customers’
wait time for general inquiries with the Customer Service department, allowing JetBlue to answer
these calls with minimum wait times, and the proper utilization of customer time.
In addition, JetBlue needs to include adequate food and water in flights longer than three hours as
a precautionary movement in response to the crisis.
Medium-term (6 months to 1 year):
During this period, JetBlue needs to introduce a specific crisis training program that properly
deals with an emergency, providing adequate training in response to delays and on-flight
customer inquiries. It is vital that JetBlue employees update their passengers as soon as any
service updates are available to avoid miscommunication and unnecessary panic. The HR
department at JetBlue needs to ensure this training is mandatory across all employees, regardless
of position or department.
Furthermore, if the pilot “Weather Alert” department proves to be efficient and effective to
JetBlue, the company needs to establish offices in every city that JetBlue operates in.
Long-Term (1 year or greater):
At this time, JetBlue’s HR department needs to create a post-progress (post-transaction survey)
report, involving upper management, all level employees, and customers as well. The progress
report allows JetBlue to understand whether or not the action plan was successful in terms of
measurable figures and statistics; analyzing the different components in each of the new programs
offered. As gratitude, JetBlue should acknowledge customers’ participation and offer $15 gift
certificates and personalized vouchers.
JetBlue’s implementation of the abovementioned strategy will result in the achievement of three
relevant goals: regain confidence in the market, ensure passenger safety and satisfaction, and
prevent any future catastrophic events. The formulation of a service recovery plan and the
restructuring of JetBlue’s IT infrastructure will improve communication on both internal and
external levels, create standard codes of conduct for future events, and most of all measure the
success of this action plan in terms of concrete figures and statistics obtained from upper
management, all level employees, and customers.