Rarely does a day pass where I don’t read about someone lambasting some large (or small) company and its foul customer service and depraved business practices. While most upset people tend to blame the company for its practices, the conflict is usually a result of a poor personal interaction between two humans, sometimes a human who is just not on his customer service “A” game that day. Yet it’s the company and all of its employees that collectively take the heat and sometimes, as in this case, the hit to future sales opportunities.
I read this rant today about someone’s experience on Delta airlines. I doubt highly that there are any memos circulating at Delta instructing employees to handle situations in the way the employees handled this one. It’s more likely that this person was unlucky enough to interact with a group of employees who don’t embrace the philosophy of delighting customers, or perhaps were just having a bad day. A different flight at a different time of day with different employees manning the ship may have resulted in a completely fulfilling experience. Heck, the author may have even mischaracterized the events (but the credibility of his claim is increased a tad by all of the supporting comments added to the blog post).
But even though I understand that this isn’t likely a company policy and my Delta experience could be Heaven on Earth, this person’s experience has significantly reduced the likelihood that I’ll choose to fly Delta (I’ve flown Delta once in my career and don’t remember it being an unusual experience, either good or bad) for any future travel. Had I not read this particular rant, I’d have likely booked a flight on Delta without thinking twice.
Am I placing too much trust in the accurate portrayal of experiences by people whom I don’t even know? Perhaps. But with plenty of travel alternatives, why should I risk the possibility of a bad experience like this?
The story is a good reminder that every customer interaction is important, especially in service industries like banking where numerous alternatives abound. There is a bank or credit union on every corner and four of them between each corner. While existing customers may tolerate a little
abuse disappointment in your service, potential customers are not likely to be as forgiving. So as a bank or credit union manager, what measures can you take to prevent his type of situation in your organization?