I learned an important lesson this weekend, courtesy of American Airlines. I was reminded of what “customer service” actually means and how it feels when you feel unjustly served.
The short story:
I went on my honeymoon last week and was set to return on Saturday to Miami, spend the night, then hop on a plane to DCA on Sunday morning. Well after boarding the plane, waiting an hour, having everyone get off the plane for a 2 hour delay, then back on the plane….then OFF again, we find out there’s a pothole on the runway and we’re cancelled until the next morning. To top it off, American Airlines officials say to everyone “It’s not our fault…we’re not putting you up…good luck.” So now we’re in a foreign country with no phone and no idea what to do. Luckily we were able to call our hotel who accommodated us for the night…but imagine how that made American Airlines look when both Virgin America and Air Canada were helping their passengers find taxis, find a hotel and food, and they paid for all of it, even though the pothole wasn’t their fault either.
The lesson learned:
I am also in the business of customer service – helping people get where they need to go, whether that’s selling a house to get to the next part of their lives, or buying a house to start the new chapter of their lives. Leaving people stranded halfway through a process with minimal information, an attitude of being a bothered, or just complete disdain, is not the best way of getting a happy customer.
American Airlines claims they put Customer Satisfaction at the forefront of their business motto. I wish to remind them that actions speak louder than words, and if you really believed you have a corporate responsibility to your clients, you should probably back that up, rather that being shown up by 2 other airlines who were actually putting their clients first.
My business motto has always been the same, based on the first law from The Go-Giver: “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” I am fortunate to have a long list of clients who will back that up with testimonials. I work hard to put my clients needs first and make sure expectations are met…there’s nothing worse than relying on someone to help, only to be left stranded along the way.