Service Because-I-Have-To vs. Service-That-Respects-and-Sells

Several years ago, I flew to Las Vegas for a roundtable discussion with a corporate strategic planner.  The journey to Las Vegas reminded me of some great lessons in customer service.

My flight out of my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana was delayed.  By the time I reached Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, I had missed my connecting flight to Las Vegas.  I eventually found my airline’s customer service (merely in name only I soon discovered) counter to find out what my options would be.

The customer service clerk, or as I like to refer to her as – the “hey, I just work here” lady – was most unhelpful.  I had to direct most of the conversation and suggest possible solutions to my problem (which I did not cause).  Her only solution initially was to get me on the 8:30 pm flight (it was 3 pm in Chicago now).

I asked to be put on stand by on an earlier flight.  She reluctantly did that.  I then had to ask where the gate was since after “serving” me, she was ready for the next person in line.

Once I got to my new gate, I had a question for the clerks working the counter.  I stood there for nearly 3 minutes (I timed it) before anyone would look at or talk to me (no one else was in line and there were 4 people working the counter – they were all talking with one another.  Once I had someone’s attention, it was obvious to me that I had interrupted their “team moment”.  The responses to my questions were abrupt and cold.  I was able to get a seat, and I was finally off to Las Vegas.

Once I arrived at my hotel, the service I had experienced changed dramatically.  I was welcomed with smiles and my name was used several times during the check-in process.  Every encounter I had at this hotel was consistent, professional, and friendly.

Do consumers have a choice of what airline to fly?  Yes, though the “customer service clerks” at my airline acted as though they were the only airline and what they dished out to be service was poor and disrespectful at best.

Do consumers have a choice of what hotel to stay at in Las Vegas?  Absolutely.  And the customer service team at my hotel had obviously been trained to provide the very best in service to insure that they have repeat customers and that word would spread from their guests to friends, family, and relatives.  So far, I would recommend this place (by the way, I stayed at the Monte Carlo Resort).

Do consumers have a choice of where they bank, buy their autos, do their grocery shopping in your community?  Sure they do.  What are you and your team doing today to insure that you are creating personal promoters and providing superior service that will sell your product and/or experience that truly will meet an individual’s, family’s, or business’s needs?

Common sense, respectful, professional customer service works.  Do it and you’ll make a difference today.

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