airline customer service

“The Problem Is NOT Customer Service,” Flight Attendants Weigh in on Who Owns Customer Experience

I am sitting on a flight and I don’t know about you but flights without wifi kill me. I can’t check emails or access the internet to work on projects. However, I did entertain myself on this flight by listening to a conversation between some frustrated flight attendants.

They were having a passionate conversation about their annual refresher course on customer service. In this year’s training they were told to be more relaxed in their demeanor towards customers, go out of their way to be nicer to everyone, and provide better customer service. In fact, they were even told to be more lenient on legal guidelines. For example if they have already asked a customer to put their seatbelt on once, they shouldn’t ask them again.

One of the flight attendants said, and I quote, “The Problem is NOT Customer Service.”

Wait. What?

At this point, I was so curious I walked over to the flights attendants to learn more. Good thing the seatbelt light was off at this point.

The flight attendants said the real problem isn’t the customer service they are providing. They said the customers are usually frustrated before they even get on the airplane because:

  • Long flight delays, rescheduled flights, and cancellations
  • Problems they’ve had at the airport with the ticket/gates agents or with security

They suggested if their company really cares about a better customer experience they should:

  • Invest in contact center technology rather than using the in-house technology they built
  • Invest in upgrading or fixing their airplanes which are causing the delays/cancellations
  • Pay their flight attendants/staff better so they want to provide better service

The moral of the story is that customer experience isn’t up to one organization to resolve, instead it’s a chance for companies to look at all the customer touchpoints which could potentially make their customers unhappy. You can be the most profitable company in the world, but if your customers think you offer poor customer experience, it will usually catch up to you and affect your pocketbook.

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