This winter is a challenging one for air travel. Hopefully, you haven’t found yourself on a cancelled flight. I wasn’t so lucky and while waiting on standby, I was frustrated by having less customer service from the airline. But then, I met one ticket agent (let’s call her, “Grace”) who “got it” and I salute three principles she used that made many stranded travelers feel much better about their experience. These lessons can connect with any business.
Information is priceless. People get frustrated quickly when they do not know what’s going on. cancellato volo The panic that comes with cancelled travel plans is multiplied whenever you can’t get a straight answer from airline staff. Too often it appears as though you’re purposely sent into a long line only to find out that the agent at the front doesn’t have idea what’s going on. Grace got on the loudspeaker and admitted that she didn’t have all of the answers for the hundreds of men and women who were waiting to catch a standby flight. But she did explain the process to getting everyone to his or her destination. Grace also let people know that once they were in the standby system, they were inside it until they got on a plane. This kept many from fretting about whether they’d need to re-register whenever they tried to catch a fresh flight on standby.
Listen to concerns but don’t forget your needs. While Grace was willing to be controlled by traveler questions and concerns, she pointed out that she had been asked the exact same questions again and again. This kept her from doing her other duties, including getting as many standby customers on the following flight. So she gave out all the data again and asked that individuals leave her alone. And she called for those folks who’d been waiting for some time to let any newcomers know what was going on. By enlisting the crowd, she gave us something do to and allowed her to serve us better.
Humor never hurts. There’s a lot of tension within an airport when it’s set with unhappy people. Grace would use humor in her announcements and that brought a look to even the absolute most tired traveler. “Trust me,” she said with a sarcastic smile, “We want to get you out of here as much as you do.” That sentence let everyone know that this was a difficult day for individuals with tickets along with the airlines. By utilizing humor to acknowledge this time, an embarrassing situation became less adversarial.
My only regret from that day was that I forget to get Grace’s full name or employee number. I would have sent a letter of recommendation to her airline about her excellent customer service. For the present time, i’d like to just say, Grace, you were amazing!