Rejecting Systems of Intelligence has Consequences

Amazon knows me.  Oh boy, do they know me!  Our dog thinks the deliveryman is part of our family.  Amazon knows what I like, and does their very best to create a wonderful and personalized experience for us by using their "system of intelligence" to provide it.  Amazon Prime membership now offers movies, music and audio books in addition to other membership services all tailored to my family and me.  Alexa, Amazon’s hit home bot, can be set-up to automate my home and much more to enhance convenience and comfort.  All of these offerings and services are designed to improve and personalize my experiences so I will feel inclined to increase my business, loyalty and commitment to Amazon.  

Airlines, on the other hand, seem determined to drive their users away in 2017.  From personal experience, airlines don’t seem interested in your welfare or quality of experience, or what you like, what kind of trip your are on, or how much current and future business you can provide them.  They are not using "systems of intelligence" to provide wonderful and personalized experiences.  As a million-miler quickly heading toward a 2 million-miler status, my legacy airline does not seem interested in considering my short or long term business value in any of their algorithms or considerations.  This seems to be a rejection of systems of intelligence.

It’s not just me whining (I swear)!  I did some research on many different travel sites this week and travel experts are advising many of their readers to abandon rewards programs and airline loyalty as the value has disappeared for most travellers. 

Let me provide a few examples.  A couple that is traveling together on a romantic holiday must reject all upgrades (upgrades they earned) in order to stay together on a flight, or pay full price for an upgrade – that doesn’t feel right.  They are now being told to pay for upgrades, even if they are potentially eligible for free ones – just for the opportunity to sit together.  And if one of the couple accepts an upgrade leaving the other in the back of the plane, there goes the romance! 

One airline recently dropped a level of elite status, from being considered a “real” status level (changed late in 2016).  So the money and loyalty that helped them earn their status has now been devalued to nothing – that treatment doesn’t feel right. 

One of the key benefits of earning status is the ability to select better and more comfortable seats, and to manage your experience at time of booking.  In 2017 that is gone, and you must now pay to play.  If you wait for an potential upgrade based on status, you may be placed in an uncomfortable center seat that you had no role in choosing. Your upgrade becomes the source of discomfort and inconvenience.   In order to ensure you are not placed in the center seat between two overflowing travelers, you must reject automatic upgrades, and pay for any upgrades even though you are eligible for free ones.  You now have less control, less predictability, less personalization and less comfort because of your elite status – that doesn’t feel right. 

It is not hard, using analytics and algorithms, to estimate the lifetime value of individual customers - that is a basic function for a true system of intelligence.  Many of us frequent travelers represent many hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, euros, etc., worth of real and potential lifetime value to an airline.  To reject that data and its intelligence in their decision-making and customer service treatment – just doesn’t feel right.

In a digital age where real-time contextually relevant personalization is the gold standard of market leading customer service oriented companies, airlines have rejected it.  This rejection of intelligence, I predict, will ultimately open up a competitive gap, an opportunity, for new kinds of airlines and/or service models willing to treat their customers as individuals with names, wallets, significant others, lifetime business values and butts.

Read more about "systems of intelligence" in the great new book "What to Do When Machines Do Everything."

  1. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  2. How Digital Leaders are Different
  3. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  4. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  5. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  6. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  7. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  8. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  9. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  10. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  11. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  12. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  13. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  14. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  15. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  16. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  17. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  18. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  19. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  20. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  21. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  22. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  23. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  24. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  25. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  26. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  27. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  28. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  29. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  30. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  31. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  32. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  33. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  34. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  35. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  36. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time