In the first half of my career, I worked for a major international airline.  That’s when I got to see firsthand the value of learning what customers must have if they are to choose you and remain with you.

I quickly observed from our thousands of passenger surveys that there was one thing that had a major shadow effect on all else that was rated by flying customers.  The number one most important thing then and now was on-time departure.  The shadow effect we observed from the ratings passengers gave the airline was telling — when the airplane left on time, all the other items were rated higher in the customer survey.  The flight attendants were rated friendlier, the food tasted better (oh those were the days when real food was served), the gate agents were rated more efficient, etc.  All items rated higher with an on-time departure.

When the plane left late the same flight attendants were rated lower, the same food scored poorly and the gate agents needed work.   The on-time or late departure created the shadow effect “mood” of the passenger hence their perception about all else they were experiencing.  While my experience was decades ago, I feel safe in saying the same thing is true today if not even more so.  People are in a bigger hurry today.  Delta seems to do the best of the major carriers at on-time flights, and its stock prices reflect it!

Airlines Ranked Best to Worst in On-Time Arrivals in First 3 Months of 2022

  1. Hawaiian – 83% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival
  2. Delta – 81.2%
  3. Alaska – 79.3%
  4. American – 77.7%
  5. United – 75.5%
  6. Southwest – 75.0%
  7. Spirit – 71.2%
  8. Frontier – 64.8%
  9. JetBlue – 62.9%
  10. Allegiant – 16.9%

So the question to our readers is “what is the most important deliverable” to your customers that delivers a shadow effect on all else that you provide your customers?  Our research has shown it can be any number of things such as quality reflected by low return rate, or accuracy of order, or on-time/in full delivery, inventory in stock, documentation accuracy, etc.  It is important that every company know what the one or two things they must be on top of for customer retention and acquisition.  Be good at those one or two top shadow effect deliverables and you will be viewed as an industry leader.

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