In almost every industry, companies aim to please their customers (at least they should). I recently took a United flight from Houston, TX to Tampa, FL. Once we pulled away from the gate and lined up to take-off, a major storm came in. All flights were grounded and we sat on the tarmac for almost 2 hours waiting for the pilot to announce whether our flight would take off or if we were going back to the gate. Obviously this isn’t fault of the airline, flight attendants or pilot. Their job is to ensure overall safety, and that is just what they were doing. This situation was not in their control. What was in their control was the desire to keep the passengers safe and comfortable.
The flight attendants had come through the aisle with waters and snacks. They chatted with passengers and did absolutely whatever they could to keep us calm. People with layovers were concerned they wouldn’t make their next flight. Some passengers were concerned that they wouldn’t make it home in time for dinner with their loved ones. I was trying to think of all the things I wanted to do when I got home. But I knew the in order to get home safely, we just had to go with the flow and follow the instructions of the experts doing their job.
Eventually, at the 2 hour mark, the weather cleared up just enough for us to take off. Woo hoo! Not enough to avoid the terrible turbulence, but enough for the pilots to feel that they could get us to our destination safe. The flight attendants were unable to provide service once we were in the air, due to weather and turbulence. Even with their limited ability to provide a service, they made sure to continue providing updates and engaged as best they could. Luckily it was a short flight.
In life, we come across SO many situations that we do not have control over. Being as I spent several years working in the hospitality industry, I realize that it isn’t necessarily the situation itself but how you help others to feel during the situation that they are in. The flight attendants could have sat there silent, like the passengers were attempting to do. Instead, they made a genuine effort to help. Despite the dissatisfaction with the flight status, the flight attendants were generally able to keep the group of passengers satisfied.
At Ideba, we conduct several customer satisfaction types of surveys. We do 1:1 phone interviews with clients of our clients to understand their points of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. We share information with our clients to help them improve their business and continue to satisfy their clients. We identify areas where they can improve. We are constantly helping them think of ways to go above and beyond. It is no longer acceptable to just do your job. You have to do more. Be proactive, be accurate, over communicate, be responsive.
If you aren’t willing to do more than your job description, not willing to work one more second than what you are scheduled to, call off because you just don’t feel like working today, you are a part of the problem. Be a part of the solution. Find ways to challenge yourself. Surprise and delight one person per day. How much effort does that take? Don’t say no. Be creative. Find alternative ways and go the extra mile. It might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. At the end of the day, that one extra little bit of effort can make you more money, keep a customer for life and make you feel better about the job that you are delivering.
Be a part of the solution. Not a part of the problem.
Want to learn more about what we do at Ideba? Check out our new and improved website and see some of the work that we have done on our SlideShare account. Feel free to send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Jenna Fuchs, Consultant