United Airlines calls it a Customer Service Center...most companies have one...a place, as the name implies, where you can expect really good care. And, the reason most people stop here is because they have a problem...like me on this day, an issue in getting from one place to another. That means we're not usually in the best of spirits. Advantage...United...in a perfect position...they know just about everyone that comes by is looking for attention, wants to feel special and has a problem. You know they're not knocking on the door to give you an award. Knowing this...you do the following:
- You put your very best, service fanatics at this station.
- You teach them how to apologize and show people they care.
- You give them an open checkbook.
- You empower them to not only make people happy, but mandate that at all costs they build a lifelong relationship with every person they speak with.
- Knowing your advantage to really surprise someone and blow them away when they're upset, you tell your staff they must find a way to say "yes"...and to only call their boss if they can't come up with a reasonable way to do that.
- And, no matter how much money you spend, and the hoops you need to jump through to "make things happen", you know it's much more effective and less expensive to turn things around with an existing customer than going out to find new ones.
- You know it's okay to act a little crazy because your boss and your company stand behind you.
You know all this...BUT...you don't do it. And, today United didn't do it. They acted like robots, didn't apologize, didn't solve the problem, didn't make me happy and didn't seize the opportunity to create a raving fan.. And, during my two hour wait, I didn't get the impression they did it for anyone else either. And, they wonder why they're in trouble.
Of course, it's far easier to just get by and hope that a competitor doesn't come along who does this better than you. But, the service business isn't easy and it's getting tougher all the time. At some point, the choice will be clear...become remarkable or die.