One of United Airlines’ main hubs is at Newark Airport, so if you’ve ever flown out of EWR, you’ve likely taken a United flight. While the world’s third-largest airline offers service to hundreds of different destinations, it has gotten a bad rap when it comes to customer service.
Now, the airline is out to fix it.
According to an article by CNBC, United recently introduced a training program called “core4” that focuses on compassion. Around 30,000 employees are set to attend a mandatory four-hour session that helps them improve their efficiency and ensure the safety of operations while also being friendly and caring.
A quote from the article states, “As it is trying to improve its image and how employees treat customers, United is also trying to remain as efficient as possible to convince skeptical investors that it can grow its operations and expand profit margins.”
Because customer service isn’t as black-and-white as things like on-time flights or safety standards, it can be a tough factor for airlines to improve – airlines can receive a lot of bad publicity from just one incident and virtually none for positive experiences.
United’s new core4 program targets four characteristics: care, efficiency, safety, and dependability – all of which must be enacted by customer-facing personnel on a daily basis. While the program doesn’t tell employees what to do in specific situations (such as how many miles to award an inconvenienced passenger), it advises them to use their best judgment when taking action.
While assessing computer-based situations is already included in each employee’s training, core4 will go a step further and incorporate actual role-playing exercises that target customer service issues. In addition, it will promote good listening skills and positive body language. According to the program, employees should show that they’re approachable by smiling, making eye contact, speaking with a positive tone, and being mindful.
Only time will tell whether United’s new training program will help improve its customer service reputation. The goal is for the airline to provide emotional intelligence tools to help employees solve problems before they become viral issues.