For many companies now-a-days, their employees, especially the ones who deal with customers first-hand are being trained and quite possibly forced to do things “by the book.” Well, here is a news release: the book is killing your business and doesn’t give your team a chance to create an experience for your customers.
I’ve read dozens of articles and blog posts about bad airline service and also dozens of others about great service. I recently had such an experience.
On Thursday, August 13, I was on an early morning flight from Kansas City to Oklahoma City. (I was on Southwest Airlines flight #668.) It is a ridiculously short flight, about 50 minutes. But those 50 minutes were the best I have ever spent in the air. Hands down.
For starters, we were on time! But more than that, right as I boarded the plane, you could tell the staff was into their jobs. I passed by the male flight attendant who we would soon find out, was celebrating his 51st birthday that day.
I took to my seat and began reading my book like I usually do; ignoring the safety information as I’ve flown enough to know the drill probably to the point where I could do it verbatim. Well, what happened next surprised me and created my perfect flight. The gentleman started singing over the loudspeaker. Not only was he entertaining, but he was enjoying it. The plane was more surprised by what was happening than allowing themselves to enjoy it.
Once he finished his serenade of the cabin, it was announced it was his birthday. (Sadly, we didn’t sing to him.) The flight was the flight and it was enjoyable, but nothing all too memorable.
But then it happened again. As we were taxiing to our gate, he started to sing again, this time welcoming us to Oklahoma City. This time, we gave him a round of applause. They’d earned it. They made the start of my four-day work weekend a celebration. I hope they do it again. More importantly, I hope Southwest keeps this up. Keep hiring great, energetic attendants who want to make a seemingly tedious task an enjoyable one others want to talk about. Here’s one guy who is in LUV.
(flickr photo via pixman_v20)