We all have seen on TV, social media and or personally experienced the poor customer service received from employees in the airline industry. Since I fly and deliver talks and training all over the globe, I get to witness first-hand some of the lack of acknowledgment or welcome greeting, non-friendly smiles, boredom and non-caring attitudes on the part of many flight attendants.
It always amazes me that you would think when passengers enter and depart the plane, the flight attendants would take this great opportunity to make a first and last impression. Most give you very little eye contact while they are too busy chatting with their coworkers or busy preparing for the beverage service when you enter the plane. Once in a while, you might get a friendly greeting or simple hello. Being friendly should be the expected standard but I find it mostly a hit or miss experience.
However, I recently had a wonderful experience while flying and when I look back as to why it was such an enjoyable flight the answer was simple. ALL of the flight attendants were extremely friendly. Oh they didn’t go out of their way to do anything special or unique. They just all had great friendly attitudes and it made a big difference in my experience. The flight attendants seem to be enjoying their jobs, speaking friendly to a variety of customers all during the flight. What a pleasurable experience and all because they were friendly to people. How hard was that?
Friendly and likable go hand and hand. Friend is the root word of friendly. And if all things being equal or not, people want to do business with their friends and people they like.
Friendly is also an attitude. One that should be in constant positive mode so that all possible contact points with a customer and possible connections will be memorable. The standard and expectations are so low in today’s world that even a simple greeting and hello will go a long way and make the experience enjoyable. Even when other factors are equal or not.
As far as the airline industry is concerned. You can follow Walt Disney’s philosophy and change it slightly while stating; “You can build and create the most wonderful planes and airline efficiency in the world, but takes friendly caring people to make the dream of being successful a reality.” I truly enjoyed my experience flying that day and it was just because the flight attendants were friendly and sincere. The perception was that they enjoyed their jobs, were interested in their customers and most of all cared about our experience.
Take a look at your own business and ask yourself or your team these questions:
- Are you or your people friendly and engage customers all the time?
- Do you or your people go out of the way to provide eye contact, acknowledgment and a sincere greeting, thank you or goodbye to customers?
- Do you or your people strike up and initiate friendly conversations with customers.
If you want to start creating a friendly atmosphere and environment in your business or organization, try this: Challenge your team to compliment people at random and see if you can get 10 or more people to smile back at you. As you do this exercise, you will see how simple and easy it is to get people to smile back at you. Make it a habit, a way of life in your business. Do it because you want to, not because you have to. In a few days you will see remarkable changes in people attitudes, friendliness and a joy to be around with. I promise you, it will help make your team, business and customer experience Magical!