Weil's World

Customer Service Homeruns: A Lesson (Believe It Or Not) From the Airlines!

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It's time for this editor to eat a little crow when it comes to picking on the airline industry. This airline knows how to treat customers and is a fine example to the mechanical systems industry of how to create raving fans.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about using the airline industry as an example of what NOT to do when it comes to customer service. And now I have to eat a little crow. I am currently writing this from Australia and I have has a series of wonderful experiences with their Qantas Airlines. This outfit knows how to treat customers and literally creates raving fans (as my friends Tim and Mitch Cropp say) of them.

Qantas Airlines LogoFrom the minute your "queue" up to check baggage to the in-flight service to baggage claim, they go out of their way to make you feel really important. How do they do this? It's simple really. They are genuine. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable, to answer your questions, to find out what you need and do their best to meet that need.

When we first boarded the Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, the lines were so long and slow. But a Qantas agent walked up and down the line, asking passengers for the times of their flights and where they were going. People who were running out of time were taken out of the long line and to another one where they were processed more quickly so they could make their flights.

Talk about removing worry and anxiety. Even though I wasn't among the passengers to receive this service, it was truly amazing to watch and impressed my wife and me very much.

On the plane, the flight attendents were attentive to our comfort and were constantly offering food and drinks and Ipads to watch shows (yes, they offered IPads to the passengers - for a price, of course, but still, how cool), magazines, and even help with headsets, pillows, and blankets. They were quick with jokes and they were genuinely pleased to help us. Genuine, again, is the key. They made us feel welcome and comfortable.

Do your field personnel, no matter whether they're in the service business or are changing out a system or are installing a system in a new construction project, do this -- make customers feel welcome (important) and comfortable? If they do, that's awesome. If you're not sure, it's time to consider some training. The Qantas personel all go through incredible training in customer service and it shows.

We were at a very small two-gate airport in Uluru, Australia awaiting a flight to Sydney. The family in front of us were from China and spoke very little English. One of the travellers (their mother) was in a wheel chair and they were struggling to understand why she couldn't go through security in that chair. The Qantas agent came around the counter, bent down to look the woman in the eye, and with a smile and gentle gestures helped her understand what she needed to do and assured her that everything would be all right. It took some time, but was a pleasure to watch. In the end the family, with big smiles were on their way.

It took a little more time and a lot of attention to detail, but in the end, everyone was happy. This is a lesson for all of us, especially when we are dealing with elderly or invalid customers who may not understand what it is that you have to do to to repair or replace their mechanical systems.

Even on the flight it self, each of the flight attendants took a genuine interest in the passengers, engaging them in conversation about where they were from and what their plans were in Australia. On our flight to Sydney, a young chap by the name of James was so accomodating and friendly, that my wife and I felt we'd known him for years.

How well do your people engage customers? Customer engagement is crucial to genuinely serving them well and to help create raving fans out of them. I am a raving fan of Qantas airlines and am not ashamed to call that out in this blog.

Do you make raving fans of your customers? I'd love to hear some stories on how you wowed them. Just login in and leave a comment below. If you're not sure how to do that, just follow these instructions.

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