Customer Experience Roundup, May 6, 2019

Every day, companies are faced with big decisions that impact their reputations and customer experiences. Some decisions are controversial, and often not all customers agree on if a company is doing the right thing. These bold moves can be a gamble for brands and either rally or drive away customers. This week, three companies were in the news for making high-profile announcements that could go either way for customers and their overall experience.

Delta Starts Controversial Seat Reclining Limits

Planning to recline and relax on your next Delta flight? Think again. Delta recently announced that it is cutting the distance its seats can recline in half for economy passengers and cutting business class down from a 5-inch recline to 3.5 inches. It’s a controversial move, as some loyal passengers prefer to have their seats reclined to their maximum distance the entire flight, but other passengers don’t like being crowded by the person in front of them. Delta executives say the new measure isn’t to fit more people on the plane, but rather to “ensure an optimal experience”. The first flights to be affected will be shorter domestic flights, but it will eventually spread to all Delta flights.

Limiting how far seats can recline is a bold move and one that could potentially anger some customers, but it shows how dedicated Delta is to customer experience. It’s willing to anger a few customers in order to provide a better experience for the rest of its customers. Having the person in front of you recline their seat can make a flight uncomfortable, so Delta is taking proactive measures. Time will tell if customers are willing to have a smaller recline.

Wendy’s Gives Into Social Media to Bring Back Menu Item Amid Protest

There’s no denying the power of social media. Wendy’s certainly learned about it after a tweet from Chance the Rapper about its discontinued spicy chicken nuggets went viral. Playing into the attention, Wendy’s announced that if the tweet got two million likes, the spicy nuggets would make it back on the menu. It took less than two days to hit the required amount. Wendy’s is standing by its promise, and spicy chicken nuggets will soon return to the menu.

Wendy’s response not only got people talking but also showed that Wendy’s listens to its customers and is willing to make them happy. This is especially important after the recent negative press Wendy’s received. Although a celebrity originally started the campaign, other celebrities stepped in to share about Wendy’s alleged sourcing from farms that don’t keep labor standards. This shows that playing up social media activity can’t completely hide unethical practices and bad press. Social media can help and hurt companies.

Instagram Hiding Likes In Canada

Instead of focusing on the number of likes a photo receives, Instagram wants users to focus on what people are sharing. That’s the goal behind the recent announcement to hide likes on Instagram Canada. Users will still be able to see how many people like their own photos, but the number of likes on other peoples’ photos won’t be visible. Instagram hasn’t said if it plans to expand the program to users outside Canada. While some people are happy that photos will no longer be a popularity contest, other users don’t want to be forced into changing how they use social media.

Instagram’s announcement could have positive results and allow users to focus more on building community and finding amazing photos, but it could also alienate users by forcing them to change how they interact with friends on social media. It could lead to healthier conversations on social media, which would be good for everyone.

Every decision a company makes impacts the customer experience. These examples show that bold moves can have both positive and negative responses.

Blake Morgan is a keynote speaker, futurist and author of two books, “The Customer Of The Future” and “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly customer experience newsletter here.

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