This winter is a huge 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 support from the airline. However, 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 much better about their experience. These lessons can connect with any business.
Information is priceless. People get frustrated quickly when they don’t know what’s going on. The panic that comes with cancelled travel plans is ritardo volo aereo multiplied whenever you can’t get a straight answer from airline staff. Too often it seems like you’re purposely sent in to a long line only to learn that the agent at the front doesn’t have 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 have been waiting to catch a standby flight. But she did explain the process to getting everyone to his or her destination. Grace also let people know that when they certainly were in the standby system, they certainly were in it until they got on a plane. This kept many from worrying about whether they’d need certainly to re-register every time they tried to catch a brand new flight on standby.
Tune in to concerns but don’t forget your needs. While Grace was willing to be controlled by traveler questions and concerns, she pointed out that she had been asked the exact same questions again and again. This kept her from doing her other duties, which included getting as numerous standby customers on the next flight. So she gave out all the information once more and asked that people leave her alone. And she called for those people who’d 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 a lot of tension in a airport when it’s filled with unhappy people. Grace would use humor in her announcements and that brought a laugh to even the most tired traveler. “Trust me,” she said with a sarcastic smile, “We need to get you out of here as much as you do.” That sentence let everyone understand that this is a difficult day for those with tickets along with the airlines. By using humor to acknowledge this time, an embarrassing situation became less adversarial.
My only regret from that day was that I forget to obtain Grace’s name or employee number. I might have sent a letter of recommendation to her airline about her excellent customer service. For now, let me just say, Grace, you had been amazing!