Friday, August 13, 2010

You Ought To See The Other Guy

Unless you live on another planet and don't have a satellite dish, you have more than likely heard about ex-flight attendant Steven Slater and his "slide to fame". However brief his "5 minutes" may be, I doubt if he will be forgotten. Just two days after his meltdown and surprising (and a tad bit unusual) antics on a Jet Blue plane that had just landed, he is now a folk hero to many. T-shirts with his likeness and comic remarks are already being worn by his supporters. There are already several different ballad versions on YouTube in attempt to immortalize him in song.

In fact, there is probably nothing that I could put in this blog that hasn't already been said about Steven Slater. But this blog isn't about him's about the other end of customer service ..... it's about the other guy.

Most have seen the bump, cut and bruises on Slater's forehead caused by a piece of luggage that got in the way of Slater and a passenger, while in the heat of confrontation. But has anyone seen the other guy?

It's my understanding that the whole incident started just after the plane had landed. A passenger stood up to take his bag out of the overhead storage area while the plane was still moving. Slater told the passenger to sit back down and the passenger refused. Now clearly, we know that we are not allowed to move around the cabin while the plane is in motion. And, we know that luggage flying from the overhead area can definitely do some damage. I am wondering why this particular passenger thought that he was excluded for this very sound and basic rule of "flying the friendly skies." Personally, I felt it was a very selfish and foolish act on the part of the passenger.

I just recently came back from a trip, and I have to say that the attendants on all the flights were friendly and very pleasant. I will also say that has not always been the case. However, I feel it is my responsibility to give them the respect and consideration that I feel I should receive.

This holds true in any customer service communication that we may have. I do feel that really good customer service is lacking in so many areas. But I also know that being in a customer service position is really stressful, and can sometimes be a very thankless job. I believe that most sincerely want to help their customers and make them happy, but do have to adhere to certain guidelines and policies as defined by their employers. In the case of flight attendants, they have some very severe and strict guidelines that they are responsible for enforcing. Some are not obviously convenient for the passengers, but hey, I'll forgo a little inconvenience for a safe flight, any day.

I will also admit that I have called customer service to complain about my disappointment in a product or service, or to dispute a bill, with my game face on, and ready to do battle. I'm sure I don't always make speaking with me a very pleasant experience for them. I also believe there are those who are arrogant and just a bit over-the-top in their demands (not me, of course).

Bottom line, I think really good customer service is reliant on two main factors, a customer service representative who is sincerely concerned for his/her customers satisfaction, while adhering to company policy: and, a customer who recognizes that the customer service agent is trying to help to the best of their ability, and deserves the same amount of respect and consideration expected from them.

As for Steven Slater is concerned, I've seen the cuts, bump and bruises on his forehead .... I'd like to see the other guy.

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