While waiting to board a Jet Blue flight back to Long Beach (from SFO), another flight departing to Boston was cancelled due to mechanical issues. An announcement was made, apologies were offered, and customers were obviously disappointed (If you travel frequently, this does happen from time to time.) What really boiled my blood was the fact that every customer who did not hear the rapid fire announcement and subsequently came to the gate agent for assistance was treated like they were an annoyance. Each was “greeted” (and I use that term loosely) by a Jet Blue gate agent with an index finger pointing to the electronic display above. Without looking up from her cell phone (totally disengaged), she repeated to each customer, “Please read the display above and call the listed number, they will be able to help you rebook”. No eye contact whatsoever. Jet Blue claims they exist “to provide superior service in every aspect of our customers’ air travel experience”. Based on what I saw, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Definite breakdown in a key front line role.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are businesses out there who understand the customer service proposition and delivery on it daily (Trader Joe’s is a great example, Pacific Sales Appliances another). Unfortunately, these types of retailers are not the norm any more. Many “champion” customer service in their mission, vision, or value statement, but it’s nowhere to be found when you enter their store or approach their gate for your flight. Bottom line profits seem to be the focus for most service providers today (not the customer). You can see it everywhere. And this type of behavior is typically a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Poor service, poor sales, cut costs, repeat…..” Something has to change, the pendulum has to swing back to the customer. With an increased focus on customer service as a number one priority, I am absolutely certain bottom line profitability would rise.
What say you?