This winter is a 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 frustrated by the possible lack of customer care 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 don’t know what’s going on. The panic that comes with cancelled travel plans is multiplied whenever you can’t get a direct answer from airline staff. Too often it appears as though you’re purposely rimborsi voli in ritardo sent into a long line only to find out that the agent at the front end does not have any idea what’s going on. Grace got on the loudspeaker and admitted that she didn’t have most of the answers for the hundreds of individuals who have been waiting to catch a standby flight. But she did explain the procedure of getting everyone to his / her destination. Grace also let people know that after these were in the standby system, these were inside until they got on a plane. This kept many from fretting about whether they’d need to re-register each time they tried to catch a new flight on standby.
Pay attention to concerns but don’t forget your needs. While Grace was willing to listen to traveler questions and concerns, she pointed out that she was being asked the same questions again and again. This kept her from doing her other duties, including getting as many standby customers on another flight. So she gave out all the info one more time and asked that individuals leave her alone. And she asked for those people who had been waiting for some time to let any newcomers know the thing that 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 filled with unhappy people. Grace would use humor in her announcements and that brought a smile to even the most tired traveler. “Believe me,” she said with a sarcastic smile, “We would like to get you out of here as much as you do.” That sentence let everyone know that this was a tough day for those with tickets along with the airlines. By utilizing humor to acknowledge this point, a distressing situation became less adversarial.
My only regret from that day was that I forget to obtain Grace’s full name or employee number. I would have sent a letter of recommendation to her airline about her excellent customer service. For the time being, let me just say, Grace, you were amazing!