The Nature of Service is Changing

Finally back at my desk after a couple of weeks of travel, I had some time to digest the American Airlines computer glitch that grounded all flights in the US for several hours in mid-April. These sorts of outages often directly impact me greatly due to my extensive travels, but this one didn’t as I was already in Hong Kong for the ISACA Chapter annual conference.


As an update for those who missed the events:  The outage affected both mainline American and its American Eagle regional affiliates, which together canceled some 1,200 flights-amounting to nearly two-thirds of the company’s daily operations-and delayed thousands of passengers. (Watch an ABC News report here)


What was interesting to me was the (belated) use of social media by American to update the public of the situation.


It appears that after there were many tweets complaining about the delays and lack of information, American got smart and used Twitter to communicate about the situation, set expectations and advise on resolutions. Click here for an example of the stream. A little later in the evening, American Airlines CEO Tom Horton posted a YouTube Video explaining the situation and resolutions.


While American did not execute perfectly, this is a good example of what is required in today’s hybrid service delivery where your service value chain is complex and when failures occur. Communications is key-and it needs to be instantaneous and ongoing.


Think for a moment about how your organization may have handled this outage – how would you have marshaled the team to resolve and simultaneously coordinate communications with your customer base to ensure their continued trust and patronage.


As for me I will continue to fly, but I am really enjoying virtual meetings more and more these days!

The following two tabs change content below.

Robert Stroud

Vice President Strategy & Innovation IT Business Management at CA Technologies
Robert Stroud is vice president of innovation and strategy for IT Business Management at CA Technologies. Rob is dedicated to the development of industry trends, strategy and communication of industry best practices. Rob is a strong advocate for the governance, security, risk and assurance communities working closely with the community to author, develop and communicate standards and best practices. Rob also advises organizations on their implementations to ensure they drive maximum business value from their investments in IT-enabled business governance. Following a four-year term as an ISACA International vice president, Rob served on the ISACA Strategic Advisory Council, and is currently serving as ISACA ISO Liaison sub-committee. Earlier, Rob served on the itSMF International Board as Treasurer and Director Audit, Standards and Compliance, the itSMF ISO liaisons to multiple working groups and spent multiple years on the board of the itSMF USA. An accomplished author and blogger, Rob is widely recognized for perspectives on industry trends. He also has contributed to multiple standards publications including COBIT 4.0, 4.1 and COBIT 5, Guidance for Basel II and several ISO standards. Rob served as an active member of the ITIL Update Project Board for ITIL 2011 and in various roles in the development of ITIL v3 including the Advisory Group, mentor and reviewer. Prior to joining CA Technologies, Rob spent more than 15 years in the finance industry successfully managing multiple initiatives in both IT and retail banking sectors related to security, service management and process governance. Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobertEStroud

This article has 2 comments

  1. Service Recovery Paradox!

    This is exactly what I write to in the Guide to USMBOK – how most successful service businesses can fail to deliver, yet through a formal service recovery program, recover customer satisfaction as part of the service (customer) support they engage around a situation. What each person gets is profiles and based upon their level of loyalty….

  2. It really sucks traveling when they don’t have internet running for people. I hate that. Virtual is the complete way to go. I use Skype for work and it couldn’t be any easier as far as me having to fly across my country. I thank god everyday for Skype cause it has given me more time with my family. The outages seem like a deal that they really need to figure out in CA.. I’m not sure if I could handle that stuff..

Leave a Reply