The Guts of Great Service in Tough Times
by Kate Nasser |
Even great customer service can fail during tough times. The most accomplished teams and the most well tested procedures have faltered in tough moments.
Happily, I witnessed the guts of great service on a recent Continental/United airlines flight in tough weather conditions in the eastern US.
The Story. We circled in a hold pattern on our way to Newark Liberty Airport and finally diverted to Baltimore to refuel and wait out the storm. I have been a road warrior for 20 years and been through it many times. Yet this time the in flight crew captured my attention with remarkably different customer service.
They told us everything they knew and admitted what they didn’t yet know. They updated us constantly. The airline gave us the guts of great service in tough times:
Sharing information to share control.
The Results. A few hundred informed passengers remained positive, busy, and calm. We were able to use cell phones to communicate with those waiting for us and smart phones to get the fast changing info from the airline’s website. The flight attendants also answered every question directly and repeatedly. The airline gave us the gift of information and a sense of control.
We customers, especially Americans, like to have some control over what happens to us. Airlines have been using technology to meet this need with options like boarding passes on our mobile devices, individual entertainment screens for each coach class seat, and power outlets to recharge our portable electronic devices.
When service providers add human communication to these technological options, they deliver the guts of great customer service and a sense of control in tough times.
How well do you share information with your customers to share control?
If you do this well, the results are positively startling and memorable. Kudos Continental/United airlines. You turned a tough time into a manageable situation.
I am grateful.
Yours in service,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, delivers customer service and teamwork training for delivering the guts of great service to every customer. Preview and purchase her new DVD Customer Service USA – Regional Differences That Matter.