Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lesson Learned

Being very big on customer service, we just got back from our summer vacation and I wanted to share this story with you. We were very fortunate this summer and went on a cruise in Europe for seven days. We took the girls and had a great time.

On the way over we flew US Air. Fran and I are both Elite flyers with them, Fran a Gold and me a Silver. We flew from Phoenix to Philadelphia and then on to Athens. More than eighteen hours on the plane.

Our flight to Athens was delayed three hours due to mechanical problems. I understand this, I sure don't want to be over the Atlantic and have there be problems. Although, We were a bit frustrated that we had to stay on the plane the entire time that they were fixing the problem.

Fran and I sat together and were separated by a few rows from the girls. This is were the story gets better.

Every hour or so, Fran or I would get up and check on the girls to make sure that they were doing OK. Towards the end of the flight, I was standing in the aisle leaning over talking to the girls when a flight attendant intentionally elbowed me in the back and told to go back to my seat. I looked at her and explained that I was checking on my girls and asked her why she was being so rude to me. She then lashed out at me in the middle of the cabin in front of my children and the group that we were traveling with. She yelled at me and called me a "Goof-ball and a Hideous human being". (I've been called worse) I'm not embellishing or exaggerating, she was yelling at me at the top of her lungs and everyone in the cabin was watching!

Needless to say, I was very surprised by her action. My initial response was to give her a piece of my mind but the thought of being escorted off the plane and thrown in a Greek jail when we landed was not the way I wanted to start my vacation. I calmly suggested to her that it was people like me that ultimately paid her salary and went I went back to my seat for the last hour of the flight. I should have kept my mouth shut, bit my tongue and walked away, but I was tired and frustrated at the way I was being treated. I did nothing wrong. I did what every parent would do. The seat belt sign was off and all I wanted to do was check on the girls. Don't lash out at me and call me names in front of my friends and most importantly my kids!

Further more, I don't know what was going on with the crew on this flight, by enlarge they were all pretty cranky. This is not what they promote in their new trans-Atlantic Envoy service.

Conversely, on the remaining flights back home the flight attendants were great and both of our flights arrived early.

So here is the lesson learned. We had four flight segments on US Air. Three of them the service was great. One of them the service was horrendous. When you look back at this post, how much time was devoted to the positive service versus the inferior service? When I talk about my summer vacation, do you think I'm going to be talking about the good service or the bad service on US Air?

Finally, If you want to learn about customer service that goes over the top, read about Crystal Cruise lines. US Air could learn a lesson from them.

My father always taught me that there are two rules in business.

Rule #1) The Customer is Always Right
Rule #2) See Rule #1

The lesson learned, Don't be rude to your customers, It's bad for business!!!

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