It's four-o-clock in the morning. The streetlight is a small, fuzzy sun, haunting your cul-de-sac. Toothbrush in mouth, you reach for your buzzing phone. The lock screen shows both a text message from a five-digit phone number and new email appearing across your iPhone's lock screen: "JetBlue Flight Notification — Important Flight Information | Cancelled".
This panicked moment, alongside the times your checked luggage doesn't re-appear in baggage claim and delays that cascade to missed connections, are quintessential excuses to call one's airline.
In what I hope will evolve into a small series here on DFF, I'm going to dissect and explore JetBlue's interactive voice response (IVR) experience.
A scenario, not dissimilar to the first line of this post, played out about one month earlier. Picking up the phone, I tapped into my contacts where I saved away the private phone line for those holding JetBlue's singular Mosaic status. (Pro tip: Save you airline's contact details into your phone's address book for quick access.)
The beginning of every call to JetBlue's Mosaic line is the same:
Unlike larger, legacy carriers, JetBlue distributes a private 1-800- number to their status-holding travelers. Printed on their Mosaic membership card, and stored inside the JetBlue mobile app, this line provides quick access to the dedicated Mosaic support team.
Unlike Virgin America (who similarly has private phone lines for their Gold and Silver members), JetBlue still requires their status holders to enter their TrueBlue account number before continuing. Many legacy carriers flag their elite status holders by phone number, routing all calls through their general phone line.
Requiring users to self-identify is an unnecessary hurdle.
After providing your account number, the IVR offers two main options: reading off account balance and speaking with an agent. I wish I could see the statistics on how many callers use the TrueBlue Mosaic line to read out the points balances. I'd wager an Andrew Jackson that it's less than 2%.
When drafting my back-of-the-napkin persona of the archetypal JetBlue Mosaic traveler, I doubt their purpose for calling their priority support line is ever to look up their TrueBlue account balance. These are guests who spend over $5,000 per year with the airline; they are the type of traveler who has quick access to the JetBlue mobile app. For those traveling this often, their primary concern probably lies with their next reservation.
In future iterations of JetBlue's phone tree, I hope they will route calls coming from known Mosaic members directly to agents. The phone system also is plagued with inconsistent audio levels from the voice actor and music.
Lastly, I have never had to wait for a Mosaic team member to answer the phone but should hold times exceed two to three minutes I expect the IVR to offer a callback.
Interactive voice response systems are fascinating. This clear touch point has the power to calm frustrated travelers or enrage those already on the brink of a meltdown. Such a system, while lacking a graphical user interface, is by no means less designed.