Friendlier Skies …Through Text Analytics?

So I’m scheduled to fly out to Rome for the IOD EMEA conference in a week or so – Unfortunately everyone (and I mean everyone) wants to steer clear of flying in/out of far northern hemisphere hubs (as well as JFK with the runway under construction). Thanks Icelandic volcano! Thus any flights out of the Southeastern US are overbooked and I am forced to take a flight from Boston to Paris to Rome – ugh.

Now like any good traveler, I’d like to maximize my chance for an upgrade on an international flight. Without getting into the weeds on this – the airline is not allowing me to upgrade – regardless that this is a full fare (and refundable) ticket. So as a frequent flyer with this airline, I unleash my displeasure with the customer service representative on phone, on email, on web, etc… (Yes – I’m not a happy camper in the middle seat).
While this is not my preferred solution to the problem, the airline sends an email to me stating:


In a effort to show how truly sorry we are, for the disappointment you experienced when we failed to accommodate you in the forward cabin and since you didn’t receive the benefit of cheerful, friendly service we strive to offer. As a gesture of goodwill, I have added 8, 000 bonus miles to your account. Please allow three business days for the miles to appear.


So I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth here (even though this does squat for my situation – As the problem is that I can’t even use my miles) and I must admit that my temper has been reduced with this consolation gift. So why did this happen now though? This surely is not the first time that I complained to the airline. This does get me thinking about how the airline may be using their unstructured data from customer service….

Check out this video from our InfoSphere Warehouse education series on handling unstructured data:

Back when I worked for a start-up sporting goods company we had massive amounts of consumer data from call logs, email correspondence and chat rooms that honestly just sat around. Wow – What if we actually had a mechanism to use that information? If and when we start thinking on an enterprise level – How much of our own organization’s unstructured data is not being used?

I give this airline kudos for throwing me a bone – but I give it even more praise for the usage of its unstructured data to make tangible, timely customer service decisions. Am I more loyal to the airline? Not sure – But they don’t have to worry about this customer’s churn today.

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