Monday, July 1, 2013

Setting Expectations

I've been working in A-zone galley this month, a fairly task-oriented position that normally has little/no direct interaction with customers. While I enjoy the challenge of something different, I've missed the face-to-face with the people who pay the bills. So, the last 2-3 trips, I've been trying a "twist" on accepted galley position Flight Attendant responsibilities.

Once I have the galley mostly sorted out, I take a breath and step out into the cabin to say "hello". Something like this, "Good morning. My name is Tony and I'll be working in the galley today. You won't see me very much but I'm here to help make sure you enjoy your flight. If you have any special requests or if something doesn't meet your expectations, please pass the word up to me. We're here to do what we can to make you happy. It's nice to have you with us!"

At the very least, I always get a "surprised" smile...usually a comment, often a question...or two...or many. It's interesting how VERY well-traveled customers can be so surprised by something so innocuous. And it's ALL SO POSITIVE!

A genuine desire to please is an honorable, powerful thing.

Just this past Saturday, on the return from Heathrow, catering was a total disaster. Just one example: we were surprised with two different chicken entrees (morel sauce [the one in the menu] and Tandoori) which, of course, we weren't prepared for. When two of our highest level frequent flyer customers who'd ordered the morel sauce version received Tandoori, the potential for dissatisfaction was great. Partly due to THEIR disposition (who can say where it comes from?), partly due to the excellent Tandoori entree, partly due to our genuine willingness to please, WE HIT A HOME RUN! They raved about their meals and at the end of the flight, when I went by to thank them for supporting my airline-employer, they both said, "compliments to the chef."

Is it silly to strive for excellence, no matter what you're doing?

When you set out to set an expectation, aren't you setting it for yourself as well as for the customer?

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