Delta Air Lines: Customer Service is a Process

Delta Assist - Delta Air Lines Social Media

My trip back to Columbia, South Carolina on Tuesday was an aeronautical marathon. Using the ACUHO-I travel service, I had booked my flight with Delta. Flying out of Columbia is super convenient. The trip to New Orleans via Columbia to Atlanta went smoothly. However, the return was another story. I fly quite a bit and this was the first time that I had the pleasure of experiencing significant travel delays.

The flight from New Orleans to Atlanta was going well until we actually got near ATL. According to the flight crew, bad weather in the form of a thunderstorm was keeping flights from landing or taking off. We were in a holding pattern over Atlanta for more than an hour. Things would have been remarkably unremarkable had it not been for the extremely negative attitudes of our flight attendants. Their negativity and overall lack of service made what would have been a tolerable situation and made it a less than desirable plane to be on. Running out of fuel, we ended up being re-routed to Savannah to refuel. It took about another hour and a half for our plane to land, refuel, and take off from Savannah. The flight attendants were quite rude when they talked to us. We were all ready to get off of the plane.

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QuestionPro – failing epicly

QuestionPro - online surveys
QuestionPro used to be my favorite online survey tool:

I just wanted to contact QuestionPro and let you all know that your product is terrific. As a full time graduate student at Oregon State University, I have used QP to create and deliver 2 surveys with functionality that other free services could not provide.
Eric Stoller

Back in 2005, I created a couple of online surveys using QuestionPro for some projects while I was in graduate school. I was impressed with the overall functionality and flexibility of QuestionPro’s system. Years later, I noticed that the above quote of me praising QuestionPro was on their website. In October of 2008, I sarcastically tweeted that I should get some kickbacks for their use of my quote on their student research website. Shortly after I posted that tweet into the Twittersphere, I received an email from a QuestionPro representative asking me if I would like a “partner license.” I’m always up for trying out new levels of technology access, so I said yes and all of a sudden, I had a partner license to QuestionPro.

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A letter to Ikea

Portland Oregon Ikea

Dear Ikea,

Many years ago, in 2001, I purchased two beech-colored items of furniture. The items, a bookcase and a CD tower, were bathed in a lovely golden brown veneer. Recently, Wendy and I decided to embark on a trip to the new Ikea in Portland, Oregon. We decided that we would like to procure another beech CD tower. Upon our arrival at the Portland store, we grabbed a golf pencil and used a gps to locate the CD tower on the demo floor. I was gleeful when I discovered a fleet of benno CD towers in all sorts of different colors. I wrote down the stock number and we proceeded downstairs to the loading area. The box containing a beech benno was loaded onto the neatest handtruck ever and we rolled to the checkout counter.

Three days passed before I decided to build the benno. I opened the packaging and that’s when I realized that something was wrong. The beech on the new benno was much lighter than my seven year old beech colored furniture! Gasp! I showed Wendy the color disparity and we knew that we did not have a match.

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Wells Fargo Financial

Wells Fargo Financial
I would like to introduce Wells Fargo Financial to my favorite web browser – Firefox. Apparently, the uber high tech features of the Wells Fargo Financial website are only accessible to Internet Explorer (note, they only list versions 5 and 6!), Netscape Navigator (is it 1999?), and the ever popular America Online browser!

Firefox users (as well as anyone using Safari) who attempt to login to the Wells Fargo Financial website will be greeted by the following Firefox-unfriendly message:

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Sam’s Station

Sam’s Station owners, managers, and staff, please read the following – “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook For Implementing Great Service in Your Organization.

I love the #3 — Spinach, Tomato, and Parmesan Cheese Omelet. It is one of my favorite breakfast dishes. However, something has to be done about the appalling lack of customer service at Sam’s Station. Consistently poor customer service will drive customers away. If only Sam’s Station did not have a chokehold on the Corvallis omelet market…

Are there any other places in Corvallis, Oregon that can make an omelet with spinach, tomato, and parmesan cheese? All I’m asking for is a little bit of attention, a few coffee refills, maybe some water, etc.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and sometimes I want an omelet on Saturdays…

Free (United Airlines) ticket voucher

United Airplane

How do I use a free ticket voucher?

I never really thought I would have to ask that question. Ordering airline tickets online is just like ordering food at my favorite restaraunt. It’s easy. I assumed that using a free ticket voucher would be as easy as any online purchase from Travelocity, Expedia, or Orbitz. I was wrong. Apparently money motivates the airlines to make online purchasing extremely easy. A free flight takes the cooperation of several agencies including the Post Office.


The first step in redeeming a free (United Airlines) ticket voucher is to call 1-800-UNITED1 to make a reservation.

There are two ways to have the ticket issued:

Mail the free ticket voucher to the address provided by the United representative over the phone. Please allow at least 14 business days for processing. Please note that the free ticket voucher must still be valid for United to issue the tickets.


Bring the free ticket voucher to an Airport Ticket Counter to have the ticket issued. While making your reservation, remember to check with the United representative over the phone for your airport ticket counter’s hours of operation.

That’s right. I had to either mail the voucher or drive to the nearest airport with a United terminal. (Portland is almost 2 hours away and Eugene is 45 minutes.) I missed the convenience of an internet flight purchase. There’s something to be said about the simplicity of entering in my credit card and having an email confirmation sent to my e-mail. I decided to mail the voucher using Priority Mail from the Post Office.

The free ticket voucher process at United needs to be upgraded. The customer service representative gave me instructions that were eerily low tech: “Write the departure flight number, name of passenger, and confirmation number on the voucher.” The back of the voucher contained advertisements for United. I wrote down my information in between paragraph breaks…

I kept thinking to myself, what the heck are all those numbers on the voucher for?