On a return flight from Saskatchewan I was fortunate enough to grab the last seat in executive class. At first glance the flight attendant appeared very prompt in her attention to her customers, quickly offering everyone a newspaper, water and a pillow. Intrigued by how quickly our attendant was serving customers I began to observe her actions more closely. It wasn’t long before I realized the method behind her madness.
Following her prompt attention to customers in first class she would seat herself somewhat conspicuously behind a drawn curtain in the forward portion of the cabin, out of sight of customers and other staff. The faster she could service her customers, the quicker she was able to return to whatever it was she was doing behind that curtain. After some attendants ventured to the front of the cabin to speak with the attendant, I noticed she was seated working on an iPad. As of this writing, iPads are not standard issue tools for flight attendants.
At one point during the flight a passenger in the second row required her assistance, and, after attempting to get her attention several times was forced to walk to the front of the cabin and peak their head behind the curtain – seemingly interrupting her “personal time.”
Customer service is not about going through the motions; speed is not a substitute for quality of the interaction. Exceptional customer service is about providing a unique and satisfying customer experience. Despite our flight attendants fast delivery of service, I feel confident in saying that it became readily apparent to most everyone in first class that the speed with which they were served had little to do with their satisfaction and everything to do with maximizing the flight attendants personal time. Harsh? Maybe. But the truth none the less.
Do your customer service staff provide an outstanding customer experience or are they simply going through the motions?
© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.
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