How Does Your Company Handle Conflict?

I’m sitting on a Horizon flight from Portland Oregon to Seattle and we are an hour and a half late. Well actually it is less of a flight and more of a metallic immovable tube since we are still sitting on the tarmac.

The originating flight was late in arriving but now it seems we are over weight. They have asked for 4 passengers to volunteer to stay behind for a $300 compensation.

I notice that all the volunteers are as thin as rails. How come they didn’t ask for chubby people like myself to catch the later flight? It should be noted that like the aircraft, I am in the process of successfully shedding weight. Anyway, asking 4 random people (and do they have luggage?) to heave ho does not seem very scientific. Here’s hoping or this might be my last post – ever!

The real reason for this post is because frankly the flight attendants have not handled the delay very well. The guy next to me is a Gold MVP who flies multiple times a month to Houston on Alaska / Horizon. He is going to miss his connecting flight and, understandably is not a happy camper. And yet instead of trying to assure him that the airline will rebook him to minimize his inconvenience he is getting platitudes and condescension. This has not served to enhance his mood.

So how do you train your staff to handle situations like this? Obviously the problem of our late departure cannot be fixed but the way we, the paying customer, are handled can make a huge difference to whether they decide to fly with this airline again. And let’s not forget the handful of people like me who witness and then blog about it!

I don’t expect that airlines can provide 100% perfect service every time. There are many things outside their control but I do expect that they would practice and prepare for unexpected delays.

Oddly enough every time I watch airline staff handle this kind of situation it is as if the situation is somehow brand new!

How do you train your staff to handle mistakes and unhappy customers?


Comments

How Does Your Company Handle Conflict? — 1 Comment

  1. Mr Steam Carpet Cleaning just recently had a complaint about a Rug that was cleaned by us. We have been doing business in Portland and Vancouver since 2006 and we rarely get complaints but when they arise my team knows that showing the customer we care about their problem and you will do what it takes to fix it is good customer service. When something doesn’t go right we will comeback and make it right at no charge. If we can’t meet the customers needs which is very rare, we give a 100% return on their money. Hopefully by then though the customer feels like we did everything in our power to help them. I think money does not replace or compensate for not meeting an expectation. In the end we cleaned the rug a second time and the customer was happy.

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