At one time or another, we have all made that statement, “I would _______if I had the time….” You can fill in the blank with whatever you aspire to do if only you had additional time each day. What about customer service? Do you find it more difficult to deliver excellent service if you are always extremely busy?
This thought hadn’t occurred to me until a couple of years ago my family and I were traveling on a flight with Southwest Airlines. We travel a great deal, and when we entered the airplane, our then 7 year old daughter usually liked to say hi to the pilots and flight attendants. This night was no different, as we were waiting for the people in front of us to move, she stuck her head into the cockpit and said hi to the pilots. As we were trying to coax her out so we didn’t hold up the line, the flight attendant said not to worry, they would keep an eye on her and send her back when she was done talking to everyone. So we continued on and found our seats. We were waiting for a couple of minutes, when that sweet little voice came over the PA system saying “save me a seat, mom.” We were cracking up, as was the rest of the plane. Finally after about 5 minutes, they directed our daughter back to us.
When she came back to her seat, she was thrilled! She was surprised to know that her voice was heard all over the plane, and she was excited about sitting in the cockpit. Then she told me that she had her picture taken. Later the flight attendant let us know that she had taken a couple of pictures of our daughter and wanted to get an email address so she could forward them to us! We received those pictures the very next day, and they were great!
We were thrilled at this level of service, when they could have easily said hi and sent us on down the aisle. What struck me as different, was the fact that they actually took the time to show our daughter such kindness by letting her sit with the pilots and capturing the moment on film (or digital image!) All of this took place while they were trying to board a full plane, find space for all of those carry on bags, and ensure all of us were safely in our seats so they could take off on time (which they did!) Although they were all very busy doing what they needed to do, they were more than happy to take the time to engage a very curious 7 year old! We are big fans of Southwest Airlines and always try to fly with them (as long as they go where we are going!) This crew exemplified the reason we fly with them – excellent customer service by sincere people!
In our own organizations, do we allow customer service to become secondary when we are extremely busy? Do you speak less with your customers when the phone is ringing, a line is forming, or you have that report that is due? Do we see customers as something on a to-do list, take care of their needs and move them along? Are you too busy to provide excellent customer service?