Dear Mrs. Minivan:
You trusted us with your valuable time on August 4 and you were understandably disappointed when we didn't get you to Chicago on time. There's clearly nothing more frustrating for everyone -- customers and employees alike -- than having to endure the difficulties associated with air travel when bad weather impacts our flights. From the details you provided, it certainly sounds as if the circumstances surrounding your flight were made even more frustrating by the lack of assistance you received.
When bad weather happens, in the interest of safety, we don't have too many options to get you to where you are going as planned. What we can do, however, is display a friendly attitude to help make the situation a little less trying and I'm sorry we didn't do so on this occasion. At the same time, we are glad that you took the time to share the details of your experience. Your comments enable us to see things from our customers' perspective and help us to improve.
Regrettably, prohibitive cost issues prevent us from stocking additional food and beverages aboard for "just in case" delays. In addition, since our catering schedules are carefully planned well in advance, our caterer can't accommodate unanticipated, last minute food and beverage requests for an aircraft full of customers. We hope you understand.
Bad weather is not something we can overcome and the direct impact on our flight schedules is unavoidable. Accordingly, it is not our policy to reimburse our customers' out-of-pocket expenses, make up for lost time, or offer compensation (like additional mileage) when we don't operate our flights as planned. I am sorry. Nevertheless, you have my assurance that we will continue to focus on the on time departure of our flights and our customer service standards.
Mrs. Minivan, we are eager for another chance to serve you -- we will do our very best to get you to your destination as scheduled and provide you with the kind of service you deserve.
Was that a response or a therapy session? Because I sure don't feel any better.
This is what I'd like to say back to them:
Thanks for the carefully personalized form letter. You certainly read the employee manual on how to deal with frustrated customers. I appreciate all of your understanding and caring. I am glad that my experience has enabled you to see things from your customers' perspective and that my letter will help you to improve. And thank you for reminding me that bad weather is something you can't overcome. If you look back at my original letter I believe I mentioned that everyone knows that "weather happens." Oh, and when the "just in case" delays become S.O.P.(that's standard operating procedure, FYI, and we all know it IS), it might be nice to have a few extra pretzel packets on board.
Anyway, keep working on your customer service and getting your customers there on time. From what I can see, you have a lot of opportunities for improvement.