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Scott McKain

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What would YOU pay for an Ultimate Customer Experience ®?

If you are a member of American Airlines frequently flyer program — AAdvantage — you probably received the same e-mail I did yesterday.

It unveiled a new program of personal airport assistance during travel entitled, “Five Star Service.”

If you opt to pay the fee, the services you will receive include:

Coordinate your arrival at the airport with your car service
Meet you at curbside or at your arrival gate
Assist you at baggage and check-in
Expedite your way through security
Provide access to the Admirals Club® lounge
Escort you to your gate and assist with pre-boarding
Proactively monitor your flights and, in case of delays, coordinate re-accommodations
Escort you through Customs and Immigration for international flights
Escort you to baggage claim and assist with baggage

For that type of Ultimate Customer Experience ®, American is charging a fee — $125 for an individual, $200 per couple on domestic flights; $200 for one or two people on international flights.

So…this gets me wondering: What would you — or your customers — be willing to pay (in addition to the customary charges) to upgrade the experience you receive to an ULTIMATE Customer Experience?

When I received American’s offer, I started thinking this was way too much to spend — especially if I’m flying from Indianapolis to Omaha, for example. (Neither airport has the service available, by the way.)

However, the longer I considered it…if my wife and I were flying from Chicago to Tokyo for me to give a speech…and the bags were handled…and we could relax during the layover in the Admirals Club…and we knew if there was no problem if the flight was cancelled and someone would take care of the details…and we were whisked through Customs and security…and someone would help us with our bags after a 14-hour flight….hmmmm…..NOW for $200 for the couple it starts to get interesting.

(And, obviously, all of this is just one person’s perception — it doesn’t mean it would be interesting for you — or, it might be so great, it’s a “no-brainer” — it’s simply YOUR perception of value.)

Here’s the reason this is important: American could very well be onto a profitable source of additional revenue that also makes their customers much happier with the experience they have received…meaning customers will use the service again — and become more committed to American, as opposed to rival carriers.

Which leads to these questions:

– Where could your organization deliver a one-to-one experience for an additional fee that would enhance both profitability AND customer connectivity?

– How could you help them bypass the lines and the hassle?

– Would could you deliver to make the experience remarkably convenient — at a fee they would be willing to invest to receive an extraordinary level of personal service?

I don’t think I’m shelling out for “Five Star Service” any time soon…but, it sure raises some interesting questions, doesn’t it?

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More Stories By Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers ( & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.