I have said this before, the hardest part of travel, is the getting to and from your destination. Once you get where you’re going, it usually turns out ok, or even pretty good or even spectacular.
Once you get there business people attend to their business, families meet and mingle and vacationers see pretty blue oceans or majestic mountains or the great cities of the world.
But getting there or home………… oh boy what a hassle, pain in the you know what it can be. All one has to do is see the news on TV to know how we, the traveling public, can be treated like; well less than human beings. And I attribute it to the simple notion, that many of us in the travel business, sometimes just lose sight of what our job is.
Now this is in no way an excuse for boorish bad behavior by travel “professionals”, but those of us whose job it is to get folks from one place to the other just forget sometimes what it is we do on a day to day basis. And what a big part of our job is, is to interact with people; to provide people information, to ease people’s way around the world. We are in the customer care business.
I don’t think the people at United or American Airlines who physically man handled their customers wanted to physically or emotionally injure them. But, it seems they had a serious lapse remembering just what it is their job is all about; customer care. Maybe it goes to corporate culture, that is, just get these people on the plane, close the door and get them where they’re going, their personal needs be damned. That is definitely part of it.
But it is also that person, at the so called point of sale; the one interacting with the customer who lost their way; who forgot about customer care.
So in my opinion the airlines must embark on a program of reinforcing their commitment to customer care. Remind all employees, especially those at the airports or on the airplanes to smile, to interact, to communicate and most of all to care about their customers. For example when a flight crew cuts the security line and the metal detectors, as they must, so they get to their flight on time, at least say to the customer……..pardon me. Being polite matters and sets a positive tone.
Changing a corporate culture is hard but it starts with the little things as mentioned. It is incumbent on the transportation (read airline) industry to do this. It will making the getting to and from much more manageable.