Saturday, June 30, 2012

mini rant on customer service and keeping your life a happier place by cultivating reasonable expectations.

I'm too knackered to look it up, but I saw a splash online this week about a flight attendant who mouthed off to passengers stuck on a tarmac that they could leave the plane if they had balls.

Jose was tacky and out of line to say that, and he must not have been in his right mind to not realize this would make him the focus of the passengers' ire, rather than the mechanical/air traffic/whatever problems their delay was caused by.  He was silly to have said that, but the rabid people demanding to be let off the plane because of it were not doing anything but perpetuating the problem.

Here's a few tips from me in the service industry to the good patrons who benefit from the servitude of myself and others

  • if you are of questionable sanity to the degree that you plan major services (such as moving, travel on mass transit or home repairs) on or about a holiday, expect delays.  build extra time into your schedule.  That haggard flight attendant/representative/fill in the blank wants your terms of service to be fulfilled so they can go home to their own lives they are missing out on  because of these delays.  They do not delight in your pain.  They are as much a hostage of the situation as you are.  To that end, berating them does not show your superiority so much as how you reek of cheapness.  Oh, and if you book a flight on the same day you have major services like home repair or moving, you're not as smart as you think you are.

  • If you are in a desperate state, yelling and berating really aren't the kind of squeaking wheel that gets the best lube, darling.  I'll bend over backwards to a polite but plaintive "I'm in a real bind here. Can you help me out? What do you suggest?"

  • When said representative gives you their best, honest opinion, you would do well to heed it and seriously consider going the way they suggest.  After all, he or she works in this industry year-round and may happen to know what they are talking about.

If, however, you are recalcitrant and insist on haranguing people who have already apologized but advised you they are powerless to change the course of events (most likely set about by your poor choices), you deserve whatever trouble you are experiencing.  You are not ruining that representative's day, though.  More than likely, that representative will sleep a sweet and peaceful night knowing that you receive (or perceive) consistently shoddy service throughout the universe, and you are a frequent flier in the Most Likely To Ingest Unexpected Ingredients in bars and restaurants.

Bon appetit, my dear.  Have fun with that. 

5 comments:

Jose Carrilho said...

Well, my name is José.

José ;-)

phlegmfatale said...

Jose - are you a flight attendant? ;)

Old NFO said...

Meh- If he'd said that to me, I WOULD have left (and I do know how)...

Kristopher said...

Old NFO:

The attendant was completely correct, albeit rude. You can demand to get off, and threaten to sue for kidnapping. They will get you off the plane.

But no airline will ever sell you a ticket again.

As for popping the emergency door ... heh. And I guess the attendant did give him permission to do it ...

Anonymous said...

I know that the frontline customer service folks take a lot of undeserved abuse, so my preferred approach is something like "I need to file a complaint, and I don't want to yell at you. Could you connect me with your supervisor?"

They're usually happy to help...