I often talk about how customers feel; I positively believe this is the way to make any customer loyal and make them your biggest fan. Incidentally, by keeping your client's feelings in mind, you can always find a way to make their experience memorable and enjoyable even if there is an unfortunate situation. The best feelings you can bestow upon your client or guest is a sense of importance or in other words an elevation to elite status.
Now for the story, I want to share with you today. I travel all the time, so I have achieved elite status with various travel organizations, including hotels, and car rentals.
Recently I had to make a last minute change, and I received the dreaded middle seat on a relatively long flight. Those of you who know me understand, I needed to see what I could do to rectify this situation.
When I called the elite service's hotline, there were not many options available. The agent pleasantly advised I will need to inquire again when I arrive at the gate. So I was resigned to the middle seat. It doesn't happen often; I was just going to deal with it, as unfortunately, I didn't have much confidence in the gate personnel.
I got to the gate and gave it a try. I walked up to the agent and told her I have a middle seat, and I was wondering... She began her reply before I even had a moment to finish the sentence. She stated, rather abruptly "The only seats I have are middle and in the back of the plane." I said oh, and was a little disappointed. She then asked, "what seat are you in currently?" I mentioned 11b. At that moment her demeanor changed. She replied, "Oh, you are in the elite seating, which makes a difference." She did some clicking, and then some more clicking, and asked me to have a seat. About 15 minutes before boarding she gave me an aisle and took a moment to draw a happy face on my boarding pass. I was happy.
The reason I share this story is not that I got what I wanted because I was elite, but to highlight, she wouldn't have helped me at all if I wasn't. Had I not already been elite, and already been loyal to this particular airline, the gate agent missed an opportunity.
To truly provide excellent customer experiences consistently, you must provide them to every customer at every opportunity.
The agent could have handled the entire conversation differently from the from the beginning. She could have started off listening to my question completely before speaking; then she could have asked where was I sitting. If she then took an extra moment and explained she only had back of plane options available, and maybe even take an extra moment to make me feel better about the seat I was assigned.
I may have handled it with a quick sentence, like:
"Since I only have rear plane middle seats left available, I am sure you will be more comfortable in your current accommodation, but If you would like I can change it, I would be happy to assist you."
If you make your customers feel like they are only a transaction they will never be loyal.
If you make your clients always feel they are the most important topic, they will feel loyal. Loyalty is the path to turning your customers into fans!
Always trying to raising your customer's' experience to the Gold Level.
Colin Gold. Visit me at colingold.com or goldlevelhospitality.com.
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