This winter is a huge 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 annoyed by the possible lack of customer support 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 a lot better about their experience. These lessons can apply to any business.
Information is priceless. People get frustrated quickly once they do not know what’s going on. The panic that accompany cancelled travel plans is multiplied whenever you can’t get a straight answer from airline staff. Too often it looks like you’re purposely valigia persa sent right 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 the answers for the hundreds of men and women who have been waiting to catch a standby flight. But she did explain the process of having everyone to their destination. Grace also let people know that once they certainly were in the standby system, they certainly were inside until they got on a plane. This kept many from worrying all 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 listen to traveler questions and concerns, she pointed out that she had been asked the same questions again and again. This kept her from doing her other duties, including getting as many standby customers on the next flight. So she gave out all the data one more time and asked that people leave her alone. And she called for those folks who had been waiting for a while 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 lots of tension within an airport when it’s packed with unhappy people. Grace would use humor in her announcements and that brought a smile to even the absolute most tired traveler. “Believe me,” she said with a sarcastic smile, “We need to get you out of here around you do.” That sentence let everyone know that this was a hardcore day for those with tickets in addition to the airlines. By utilizing humor to acknowledge this point, an embarrassing situation became less adversarial.
My only regret from that day was that I forget to have Grace’s complete name or employee number. I could have sent a letter of recommendation to her airline about her excellent customer service. For the time being, allow me to just say, Grace, you had been amazing!