Win, Win, Win: How Joint Ventures Can Make Your Customer Happier

Alaska Airplines plane in sky

I’m currently sitting on an Alaska Airlines flight, flying from DC to Seattle.  It’s a long flight, the seats are average size, and the paid snacks are average too.  However, there are some remarkable things about this flight that do not just have to do with Alaska Airlines.

This plane has WiFi.  Yes, I realize that this technology exists but it’s surprising how many planes do not still have the service (come on airlines, get with it).  I was excited to learn that we would have WiFi, but imagine my glee when I found out that Bank of America (who is the credit card backer of the Alaska Airlines Visa) would be covering the cost of the WiFi for all Alaska flights this month.  Typically the WiFi is up to $12.95 for a flight of this length.  I have a Bank of America credit card, and now I’m more likely to keep that card and to consider B of A for other banking and credit card needs.  I don’t know how the deal worked between B of A and Alaska, and I don’t really care.  I do care that I have free WiFi right now; my experience with Alaska is better and I like Bank of America more.

Bank of America win.

Alaska Airlines win.

Alaska Airlines also has these cool electronic devices called DigEPlayers.  This means that for a fee, you get your own digital player that is preloaded with several movies, TV shows, music videos, music, and more.  This is mentionable in and of itself because I like that I can choose what I watch and I don’t have to strain to watch a movie that I didn’t really want to see in the first place on an overhead screen.  I mentioned that these DigEPlayers have “More” and this is where we find another joint venture win.  I scrolled through the menu and found that the player has Soundview Executive Book Summaries.  I have seen these advertised in a magazine, and they did not look inexpensive, but imagine my glee (AGAIN) when I found that I could choose from over 45 business books and hear the executive summaries during my flight.  Now I’ve been able to try out this service, while I’m a captive, bored audience, and now I will be more likely to actually purchase this summary subscription from Soundview because I recognize the value and I like that they entertained me.

Soundview Executive Book Summaries win.

Alaska Airlines win.

Since I really enjoyed listening to a couple of these executive summaries, I found that I wanted to know more than just the 20 minute soundbyte on a couple of them.  This means that I opened my Firefox, went to Amazon, and bought the books…from the sky.  I’m sure this is SkyMall taken to a whole new level.

Amazon win.

Author win.

Alaska Airlines win.

So, the next time that you are thinking about running your company as an island, think about how much happier you could make your customers or clients if you give them things that may not cost you any extra but mean a lot to them.  People remember what made them happy and when they were happy.  Shouldn’t that be in your store, in your office, on your website, or on your flight?  I’ve almost even forgotten about the $20 that Alaska charged me to check my bag.

By the way, for inquiring minds that may want to know, I bought Seth Godin’s Free Prize Inside and Rohit Bhargava’s Personality Not Included.  I will keep you posted.