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!
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