The idea that airlines are doing something right when it comes to customer service seems laughable for anyone who has had to fly recently and endured rotten service, delays, crowds and any other indignity that has become an everyday part of the travel experience. Still, there is one area where airlines have pioneered a system that other industries would do well to at least consider.
With an airline, everthing is about levels of service. You get a different level if you are in a different class and you get treated differently if you are a frequent customer. Sure, you get the loyalty cards (lots of places do that), but you also get many small priveleges with it. Being an "elite" member of an airline frequent flyer program means you get to board first, don't have to pay to check your bags, get upgraded as a priority and usually even get a dedicated phone line for customer service so you don't have to wait on hold for too long.
Despite all the other difficulties the airlines have, for a long time most have had the ability to set their best customers apart and treat them differently. They even give them luggage tags. What you are doing for your best customers?