Customer service important
Published 8:29 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006
I spent 10 hours in airports over two and a half days this past weekend.
One flight was cancelled (with no warning). The second was delayed by mechanical problems - and a crew that took too long at lunch.
I was, as you might expect, fuming.
But I was not in a unique situation. Airplanes get delayed every day, by weather, mechanical issues, even simple human error.
But what was most frustrating about these delays is that the level of customer service this particular airline showed never reached the level of my frustration - or anyone else's, for that matter.
And most of us were resigned to it. It's one thing to accept that something will go wrong to delay a flight; it's another to be forced to accept that no one will be nice to you about it.
Customer service - or the lack thereof - has been in the news a lot lately, as audio and videotapes of our nightmare encounters with salespeople and technicians circulate on the Internet.
Have you heard the tape of the man who simply tried to cut off his AOL service? His story - and the tape in which the Internet service provider's salesman harrasses him for several minutes to try to get him to stay on with AOL - have circulated so much that AOL was forced to shut down its “retention” department.
Likewise, the videotape of a cable company serviceman napping on the job - because he was on hold with his own company - resulted in his firing.
Customer service has certainly declined over the years - but perhaps our patience has as well. I'm not sure what I expected from the airline staff this weekend - a foot massage while I waited? A personal apology to every customer? There isn't much more they could have done. The fact is, no one is perfect, and it's far too easy to expect too much.
Our own customer service at The Brewton Standard is not perfect, and some staff changes lately have prevented us from solving every problem in a timely manner.
But we promise to get better. And we hope you'll bear with us as we work to improve.
But one thing we hope you won't do is be resigned to poor customer service. We aren't out to make mistakes, but they happen, whether it's delivering a newspaper to the wrong house or getting a name wrong in a photo caption. Just let us know when they do, and we will do our best to make up for them.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.