June 29th, 2005 was certainly not a fun day for me. I thought about describing in chronological detail each thing that went wrong - but instead got tired just thinking about it. Here's the summary: 14 hours - All but 3 hours spent in ALL THREE New York city area airports, 4 car service rides in traffic, 3 cancelled flights and a 3:30 AM wake-up to be in Minneapolis for a 10:00 meeting in front of 40 marketing executives at a Fortune 100 company.
So - let's just chalk it up as "one of those days..." What I'd like to focus this post on, however, are 2 positive things I took away from the experience.
First Lesson: Everyone needs a little sympathy sometimes...
- I probably called Amy 16 times throughout the day, in hind-site for no other reason just to vent about what hell I was going through. Although I don't like to think of myself as a complainer (or a "hater" like my boy, Felch), I just needed a sanity check. Luckily, I have a great girlfriend who not only was mad supportive all day, but came to be with me for the 4 hours I was home.
(Side note: for all you peeps keeping track, today is the 2 year anniversary of Amy and I being together)
Second Lesson: 90% of customer service people are miserable people...but... the other/best 10% tell it straight, offer all possible solutions, and do it with empathy and sincerity.
- I must have interacted with 20 customer service employees throughout my experience and 18 of them were rude, non-solutions oriented, and flat-out bad at their jobs. There were 2 people, however, who weren't - and I can't tell you how nice it felt to deal with them at the time... And it's not like these 2 people necessarily just gave me what I wanted (cuz a direct flight to Minneapolis, regardless of price was apparently not possible). It was the fact that they were empathetic and actually helpful. They outlined the 3 or 4 options I had and let me decide. No "company lines" like, "I'm sorry sir we can ONLY..." (fill in the blank). This bodes the question ... Who am I more frustrated with for the other 18 dip-shits... The actual people or the companies that employ them? Well - as much as I want to say both, it's the companies. If you are in the service business, then you have the responsibility to actually SERVICE your customers. If you fail to do this, you should - over time - fail as an organization.... But it's like all the airlines and hotel companies got together and said "let's just lower the bar as much as possible, and sooner or later customers will just get used to it .... AND WE HAVE!
It's for reasons like this that I try and fly JetBlue as much as possible. It's for reasons like this I try and get status at hotels so employees are mandated to kiss my ass... (well - maybe not).
Anyway - quick shot out to Amy and the 2 cool customer service peeps who helped me during "one of those days..."
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