today’s world of instant
global communication, everybody
has the ability to be a reporter.
The modern world has offered up
customer experiences for public
consumption, turning the management
of expectations into a delicate
American Airlines Cargo Director
of Customer Experience, Eric Mathieu
is a key force in walking that
tightrope and securing the emerging
air cargo fortunes at the world’s
“If you make a mistake,”
Eric says with a slight, pleasing
French accent, “you must
admit what happened, provide your
customer with the exact details
of the fix, and prove it.”
a simple sensibility, says Eric.
service is all about keeping it
simple. And pleasant.
came over to cargo from the USAir
side, having joined the airline
at Paris in 1991 out of the tour
business, where I worked developing
the North American market.”
“Sales, operations and customer
service were the set up when I
joined American Cargo, and all
three were involved in handling
that meant up to 19 people might
get involved at one level or another
to handle a single call before
the question or complaint or even
compliment was routed to the people
that could action a response.”
“I call that approach ‘spray
and pray,’ so when Jim Butler
brought me on, my first action
was to move headfirst into the
task of centralizing the process.
That action has continued through
both the American and US Airways (note: at the time of AA US
Merger, USAir was US Airways) combining of services.
at AA Cargo we offer the shipper
a contact point in customer service
that is an interdependent advocate.
can tell you from my vantage point:
air cargo is complicated.
moons need to be aligned for success.
idea for me is to keep things
simple, human, and tell the truth.
American Cargo when you write
or talk to us, we endeavor to
make the experience personal for
each customer by building interpersonal
in the cargo business, customers
are wary of someone other than
their salesman (meaning the airline
salesman) getting involved when
there are questions or issues.
we put our customer relations
team together with our sales team
and made a series of joint customer
calls, putting a face on both
services and humanizing the process.
at American Cargo our customers
can look forward, as mentioned
earlier, to a total interpersonal
and the Proactive Factor
“Throughout the shipping
process, we aim at keeping the
human factor important, we also
continue to develop and introduce
modern self-service tools for
our customers. Like our new online
upon a time,” Eric notes,
“most incoming calls were
from customers looking for an
update about their shipment journey.
three years later, our centralized
approach and tracking tools has
lowered that number significantly
we expect that will continue to
diminish as we continue to enhance
our online tracking tools.
also believe in being proactive.
For example, if we notice that
a shipment will experience a missed
connection, we proactively rebook
it on the next available flight
and inform the customer before
we get the call.”
consider my time in the passenger
division very valuable in preparing
for air cargo.
when you look at it, one experience
is above and the other below the
both require immediate attention
when things become an issue, and
failure is not option.
and sales is like a marriage where
both parties really have to make
an all-out effort to work together.
our part, cargo service enhancements
have been approached in terms
of what is right in front of us.
can be viewed as the low hanging
for example if (god forbid) a
shipment goes missing, American
Cargo has a CRM system installed
that launches a search within
face it, you cannot do better
than also internally measuring
performance data because as we
review our aggregated monthly
reports, we discover patterns.
if Miami passenger loads are robust
and that impacts cargo we can
make adjustments on how we conduct
“No doubt in 2017 and moving
forward American Airlines cargo
is about growing both its international
and domestic footprint to serve
many new destinations, and that
requires dealing with different
forms and systems in air cargo.
year ago (June 2016) AA was 34
during December 2016 that number
rose to 62 percent.
the end of this year we expect
E-awb to land at 75 percent.
ongoing challenge is bringing
on our small freight forwarder
customer, but in all cases we
will expand and enhance our offering
to make it easy to electronically
do business with AA Cargo,”
like cargo,” Eric declares.
is complicated, but I thrive on
like it because I can see the
impact of what I do and the result
a great air cargo service can
have on peoples lives.”
is 54 years old.
he was offered the job, he accepted
the post on the condition that
he could work in Dallas, where
he is based today, but continue
to live in Miami, Florida, which
he described as his favorite city
in the world.
work in Dallas but live in Miami
because three years ago my partner
Andi and I fostered a son, Alex,
who was four months old.
greatest joy has been to see this
beautiful child grow into this
says for relaxation he loves Mediterranean
cuisine, running, and skiing.
know I was born and raised in
Lyon, where good food and skiing
are a way of life,” he confides.
Fixer Looks Ahead
he continues his yeoman work at
American, Eric Mathieu is very
much “The Fixer” in
the great challenge of perfecting
want to be like [Apple’s]
Siri, always having an answer,”
says Eric Mathieu.
it easy to do business with us
and being pleasant whilst lessening
the administrative burden rings
true to us.”