Most customer service tips focus only on the service delivered to that customer. Yet, how any one customer sees service often has nothing to do with the service he received. The United Airlines incident highlights this. In this case, the service others receive affects how others see the service they received.
For instance, in the United incident, except for the four who had to leave the plane, all passengers received good service except perhaps a little delay. Yet, most, if not all, did not enjoy seeing a man dragged off the plane. That ruined for them what was otherwise a good flight.
Other Ways To Affect Service
Consider that ambiance and presentation affect the taste of food. It makes sense then that they can affect service too. With United, people had to suffer witnessing a hostile act. It changed the ambiance of the flight.
Rigidly applying rules is like mindlessly plopping food on a plate without concern for how it’s presented. No thought exists on how this looks or how personal considerations should play into it. With United, this meant the incident left a mechanical, insensitive taste with the passengers about the service they each received.
Three Lesser Known Customer Service Tips
It’s so easy to focus on the dragged man and the bad press United received. This discounts what the other passengers went through though. How did this incident change their views of the service they received?
It’s important because all bad service won’t be so highly publicized. Still, it will affect those who witness it, not just those who feel the brunt of it directly. Thus, the lesser known customer service tips the United incident gives are:
- The total customer service experience (ambiance) affects service quality not just those parts that touch the customer directly.
- The manner in which rules are applied (presentation) in resolving service problems will affect all customers who witness it.
- Employers should not enforce rules so strictly that employees are too afraid to bend them so to include the first two tips.
Beware Of Putting Employees In No-Win Situations
In the end, suppose the United employees let that man stay on the plane. That would have meant another employee, needed on another plane, would not fly. That might have caused the delay of another flight. Then, would those employees, who had let the man stay, have been reprimanded?
In short, did United’s rules and policies put the employees in a no-win situation?