If you read about the recent results in the American Customer Satisfaction Index about airlines, you might not be that surprised. Customer satisfaction dropped for the industry with Southwest Airlines continuing to be the highest rated.
I’ve done some flying over the past couple weeks, and the customer service itself doesn’t seem worse to me, but it doesn’t seem better. As former Carolina Panthers football coach John Fox frequently said, “it is what it is.”
The big question is “Why is it allowed to be what it is – simply mediocre?” It was the TSA representative who literally did not say one word to the 30+ passengers for whom I watched her check their tickets against their I.D.’s. It was the flight attendant that wouldn’t reciprocate a smile as I walked by him. It was the congestion of passengers delaying boarding in a poorly designed gate entryway. It was the interminable wait for the “valet” checked luggage in the hot and crowded jetway after the flight.
On the flipside, I had a great experience with another TSA agent who warmly greeted and still productively processed passengers through the checking of their ticket. There was a flight attendant that went out of her way to ensure a family with small children felt comfortable. There was the self check-in kiosk where an employee gave some support in getting started in what turned out to be a 90-second process with no wait.
The problem is not that there isn’t great customer service in the airline industry. The problem is that it’s not consistently given. It’s too often dependent on which employee you get, on what airline you take, on…luck.
The obvious and correct conclusion, therefore, is that delivering great customer service is not a high priority. If it was, then there would be the intent and the execution to make it happen – consistently.
Make great customer service a priority in your business. Have an intent to make it a part of every aspect of your organization, and then ensure it’s being executed consistently.
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