Recently I was held up at the airport for eight hours by an airline mishap. Eight hours is a long time out of my life due to someone else’s error. None of the Representatives of the Airline handled the situation correctly. They started with the problem and then why it occurred from their perspective. Never once did they say, I’m sorry or we understand this is messing up the rest of your trip and we apologize. They just kept telling me the reasons why it happened from their perspective, never giving me eye contact or having empathy to my situation. I thought, wait I am the customer and the one who is being inconvenienced here, I could care less about their problems, I paid full fare for my ticket and expect better service than this. Because the representative handled the situation so poorly it upset me to no end, even when they offered my fare back. The money didn’t replace my valuable time and a simple apology and some respect from them would have made all the difference. I swore to never use them again.
So here is what they said …“We are overbooking our planes because of the recession and we are trying to stay profitable…We can’t get you on another plane for about eight hours. (With no eye contact) When I asked if they had a lounge they put people in that they have inconvenienced, they laughed and said, “I wish!”
What they should have said was…”We are so very sorry for this mishap, we know your time is valuable and it is a huge inconvenience for you, we apologize but we will do everything in our power to make it up to you. Our airline is trying a new policy to fill our flights and due to this new policy some of our clients got bumped. We will refund your money and make sure you are on the next flight. In the meantime, would you like to rest in our lounge and have lunch on us?”
Don’t make this mistake, it’s a big one. You will resolve customer anger so much quicker if you practice empathy first, then attempt to resolve the problem with respect and kindness and don’t forget to look them straight in the eye as if you are truly concerned about their welfare.
Now this airline takes their customer service very seriously. I am positive that the Managers and stockholders would never want their Representatives handling customers in the manner I was taken care of. It’s just these kinds of things that ruin good brands.
Five Recession Realizations
- Customers are interested in what’s good for them. Customers don’t care or need to care about your company or your survival. When they buy from you, they expect great service for the money they are paying.
- In this recession, people are simply more careful as to how they are spending, so you must be providing the very best service and constantly be evaluating your employees and service levels.
- Find opportunities to pleasantly surprise and go above and beyond to create a fabulous customer experience it IS the only thing that matters.
- Constantly track your representatives and make sure they are highly trained in all scenarios especially to deliver bad news. It IS possible to create a positive client experience even at times of delivering bad news.
- Companies should always remember like everything in this world, they are expendable. If you don’t give the customer what he or she is paying for, they will just move on to the next company who will.
A recession provides a unique opportunity to stand out from the pack. Customers want and need more, and will generously reward and depend on those brands that make them feel important and valued with additional spending and referrals.
Quality companies who pay attention will weather this recession as they have others in the past but some brands will not. Make sure your to-do list includes identifying, highly training and rewarding those employees who are best at engaging and servicing customers, then give them the autonomy to meet and exceed those demanding customer expectations. Let their performance perfection be what represents and safeguards your brand for the future.