What a difference your attitude can make in delivering exceptional customer service! On a recent return trip from California, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant named Ray created an atmosphere that went beyond standard service and safety information to pure enjoyment of traveling on his plane. Most interesting, was how his approach was so positively perceived by the passengers.
From the moment we stepped on the plane, Ray delivered service beyond what was expected. First, he greeted us with a smile, eye contact, and a genuine hello. We felt welcome.
The pre-take-off safety script that we frequent flyers could deliver word-for-word was punctuated with funny comments while maintaining the seriousness of the regulations being announced. We listened.
Ray learned a few passengers’ names and used them. He asked questions of the entire cabin, such as, “How many of you visited Disneyland while here?” “Who is going on to Chicago?” By the time we took off, the normally quiet cabin was abuzz with happy chatter. We were glad to be there.
The upbeat mood prevailed throughout the entire two-hour flight. People felt appreciated, well-attended, and glad to be on board with a crew who made it so obvious this was an opportunity to serve. When going through the cabin with a second round of free snacks, Ray kidded with one passenger sitting behind me, saying, “You don’t get this kind of service with those other airlines.” Her response, “What other airlines?” He set Southwest apart from the competition in the minds of the customers.
When we landed, Ray finished the arrival announcements with lyrics to a short song he sang to all of us passengers who then deplaned with smiles on our faces. Ray was right there, shaking hands and saying, “Goodbye”. We left feeling good.
This was just a flight, like so many other flights, but it was a day when one particular airline made traveling fun. What made the difference in the minds of the passengers on this flight? The Ray of sunshine in this employee’s exceptionally good attitude toward his role in serving his customers.
What is your attitude toward serving your customers? Do you make them feel welcome, glad to be there, that your service is different and exceptional? Do they leave smiling and feeling good about you? It all starts with attitude. Is it time to revisit yours?
It’s not surprising that even though some 88 million passengers flew Southwest in 2010, they had the lowest ratio of customer complaints per passengers boarded, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked them #1 among all airlines for the 17th year in a row. Shine on Southwest. And thanks for Ray’s reminder of how a good attitude toward delivering exceptional customer service can drive business.