Revitalizing the Customer Service Industry

As a frequent flyer, there is a level of customer service that is expected in the air. The courtesy of stewards, attentive to the needs of the passengers, can constitute what makes for a pleasant flight. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that effective customer service is becoming difficult to come by and it is of the utmost importance to restore its integrity.  

On a recent flight to Rhode Island, I settled into my seat and noticed a “TV Not Working” sign glaring back at me. The first flight attendant who assisted me in solving the problem simply turned the TV off and back on. Though this was something I had already tried, my trust was with the professional. He insisted that I give it a few minutes and I obliged. 

Twenty minutes later I sought out another flight attendant. She said she would try to reset the monitor from the main terminal and suggested I allow for some wait time. Ideally, this attendant would have followed up with me, but instead, I found myself seeking assistance once again. 

It was a half-hour after that when I decided to press the flight attendant call button to get their attention for a third time. Surprisingly, no one answered my call. One can imagine how problematic this would have been if I were experiencing a medical emergency. I found myself questioning if this is how customer service representatives are initially taught to interact with customers, or if this type of disregard is developed over time.  

Thanks to the readiness of phone cameras and easy access to social media postings, news channels have no problem finding material regarding passenger related incidents and mid-air conflicts among travelers and crew.  Perhaps one way to solve the problem is to take a step back and observe how the customer is being treated by the professional.  I am in no way excusing ill behavior, there are certainly times when a customer irrationally lashes out on an employee, but what exactly causes a customer to get to this point?  Does it have anything to do with the way a customer is being treated? 

Some may blame the poor professionalism of various customer service representatives on recent COVID safety measures. Personally, I have noticed a major decline in customer service since before the 2020 Pandemic. Maybe this global crisis was the final blow to a once positive and efficient line of work. 

The moral of this article is neither about the ill-working tv monitor, nor is it specifically about the airline business.  It is about our responsibility to stand up for what we deserve as customers, and to take pride in the treatment of the consumer as business leaders.  Effective customer service peered with a positive experience is a sure way to gain a favorable reputation for any business.  

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