It is no secret that clients crave the sales success ingredient from their representatives. What is the success ingredient? Customers expect you to care about their well-being by providing your company’s best possible service. It matters not whether you are a solo entrepreneur, a Fortune 100 corporation, or operate a company ranging in size between the two.
The concern is that you will immediately attend to anything not quite right to fix issues and meet delivery expectations. It is the only way that you will be able to build a returning and referring clientele a la the Smooth Sale. Otherwise, instead of feeling the breeze of a smooth sale, you will feel like you are drowning in an ocean of difficulties.
I was excited to join family members on vacation but was somewhat nervous about flying across the country. Aside from Covid germs potentially still in the air, the news continually showcases the cancelation of flights and people waiting in line for unbearable lengths of time.
Our experience was far worse, if you can believe it, proving to be a nightmare flying out. It was a ‘day and nightmare.’ The boarding was as should be, but we stopped short of the city where we were supposed to land. And then the games began, but not the ones anyone would want to play.
The Worst Possible Customer Service
Lie #1: We were told the plane could not land at the assigned airport, but another plane would land on the existing tarmac to take us to our destination within about 15 minutes.
We were allowed to exit the plane and enter the airport lobby three hours later.
Lie #2: We were told another plane would take us to the destination airport within the hour. Similar updates continued. We waited all afternoon and then evening, but it never happened. Nighttime arrived as the passengers began to bond and discussed what to do next as the staff made more erroneous statements.
Uncaring: No offer came our way to put the passengers up for the night in a motel or hotel nearby. By late night, some passengers made a bed for themselves on the airport floor to get some sleep. The rest of us dozed, sitting upright in a chair.
Worse, no food offer came our way, although we had not eaten since early afternoon. By 5:00 a.m. I approached the person in charge to request food. He nastily responded that we couldn’t go through security because we didn’t yet have a flight established.
I corrected the person by suggesting that the executives in charge show some hospitality by walking in the opposite direction toward us and past security with food trays. Aghast, he said, “I’ll check into it.” By 6:00 a.m. – approximately 15 hours after the flight was first detained, we could go upstairs to purchase our food and then take it onto a new plane awaiting us on the tarmac.
No Apology for:
- The extremely long wait
- The lack of food or hospitality
- False claims of a plane arrival.
- The passengers’ loss of a day of vacation.
I will attempt to contact the person responsible for making things’ right’ for passengers. A direct apology to each client plus some credit will add to the sales success ingredient, but that did not come our way. Also lacking was a follow-up email expressing regret for the mishap.
Should my attempt to contact the person in charge prove fruitless, likely, I will never fly on that airline again. Imagine close to 100 passengers telling all their friends about the horrific incident and what they may do to the loss of future business. The above is a step-by-step program for how to kill all future sales.
The Better Customer Service for the Return Flight: The Sales Success Ingredient
We were scheduled to return on the same airline but were transferred to another, which was a relief. A notice arrived via email to check in online to save wasted time. The message was noted and done.
BUT – Oh No – Stress Here We Come!
Upon arriving at the airport early (thank goodness), the person checking the bags had no record of us being passengers. The initial message indicated that the airline had changed our flight to the day before. What?! The agent advised us to contact an agent who could help correct the arrangements via Messaging.
No announcement in bold letters, no phone call, plus no notice came our way to catch our attention. Worse, the airline expected us to cut our vacation a day short for them! There I was, messaging back and forth, hoping with fingers crossed that seats would be available on the intended day’s flight.
After an hour, the online agent said, “You are good to go now. I sent you an email.” But the email did not come through. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll send it to the agent checking bags.” I returned to the agent to explain where we were in the process. She looked up our names on the computer but could not find them. Seeing the stress on my face, she said please have a seat; I’ll stay on hold until I get some answers.
Another hour passed until the agent signaled for us to register our bags and get on the flight. If we hadn’t shown up at the airport hours before the flight, we would have been out of luck. Thankfully, we made it home without further incident, but it did take two days to get myself out of Zombie mode.
I realize that the airlines are short on staff due to the pandemic. However, that still does not give cause to lie to passengers, ignore their well-being, and not be honest with them. Until the very end, the experience was the all-time worst customer service. The sales success ingredient was missing at every step up until the end.