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American Airlines employees win Customer Cup

Photo by Maria Jose Subiria
American Airlines customer-service agents, Rosalind Minnefield (from left), Doris Johnson, Tony Echevarria, Alfretta Lynch, Tammy Baun and Jean Waskiewicz, pose for a picture with the Customer Cup at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Photo by Maria Jose Subiria American Airlines customer-service agents, Rosalind Minnefield (from left), Doris Johnson, Tony Echevarria, Alfretta Lynch, Tammy Baun and Jean Waskiewicz, pose for a picture with the Customer Cup at Hartsfield-Jackson.

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

American Airlines employees at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport won the airline's Customer Cup award for the third quarter of 2009, for earning outstanding scores on a customer-service survey.

The employees won the first Customer Cup for Atlanta in the medium-size operation category, said Juan Carlos Liscano, general manager for American Airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Liscano said the award was announced during an annual leadership conference in Dallas, Texas, in October. Tom Del Valle, senior vice president of customer service for American Airlines, and Jeff Plant, regional director for American Airlines, presented the award to employees at Hartsfield-Jackson in November.

"I was very proud of the accomplishment, because it was an employee-driven success," Liscano said. "It was a result of an employee effort to create a better experience for the customer."

Liscano said the award is based on the results of questionnaires and phone surveys completed by passengers in the third quarter of 2009. The Customer Cup is awarded in every quarter of the year.

According to Liscano, American Airlines employees at Hartsfield-Jackson were the most improved, overall, within their division. They significantly bettered their performance in categories including aircraft cleanliness, checked baggage delivery, efficiency of boarding, overall experience with the airline during flights, probability of recommending the airline to others, overall handling of delays and timely and accurate information at gates.

According to Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines, the award was created in 2008 to improve the airline's customer experience, to recognize stations for outstanding customer service and to create a friendly competition between employees who work at stations in the same operation category.

"It was something that we were encouraging our employees to do ... a way to recognize excellent and hard-working employees who really move the dial and make a difference," Smith said.

Liscano said his employees took it upon themselves to excel in customer service, signed a customer service recommitment statement and created the ATL World of Welcome (WOW) program.

The recommitment statement is posted on a wall in the American Airlines employee breakroom, Liscano said.

The ATL WOW program encourages American Airlines employees to praise their colleagues when they deliver outstanding customer service, he added. Employees who are able to attain a positive customer-service letter from American Airlines passengers, or their colleagues, are entered into a monthly drawing. The winner of the drawing is awarded a gift certificate and a plaque of recognition, which is displayed in the breakroom.

"They did it on their own," said Liscano. "It was purely an employee-driven success."

According to American Airlines officials, other stations that won for the third quarter of 2009 include Los Angeles International Airport, in the hub and large-operation category; Indianapolis International Airport, in the small-size operation category; Jacksonville International Airport in the small, contract-service category; and La Chinita International Airport, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in the international category.

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