I am definitely not in favor of the craze in which people on Facebook put down a particular airline, restaurant chain, hotel chain, etc. just because they had a bad experience or two. Folks, this shouldn't be a secret, but every single airline has delays, canceled flights, flight attendants who have a bad day, and bumpy landings. To publicly berate them on Facebook is, in my humble opinion, silly. I am loyal to an airline because I fly a lot. Sometimes, flights are delayed, and a few times in the last seven years of heavy traveling, I have had to spend the night somewhere I didn't intend to stay because of a missed flight, etc. The good news is: when you remain loyal to a brand, they typically treat you better. I get off a delayed flight and have a new boarding pass waiting for me or a text on my phone telling me when my next option to get home is. Same with my preferred hotel chain: when I check in, I often get upgraded to a nicer room or a nicer view. Why? Not because it is better than another hotel chain, but because I have remained loyal and I have status with them. I simply think it is silly (that is the best word choice I can come up with) to dog a hotel or airline when you have one or two bad experiences. And if you really want to thin the herd of the people who will send you Christmas cards this year, just reply to one of those "rants" with a dissenting view. Wowee! What a mess.
Now, I will say that some customer service people crack me up (and by "crack me up", they would truly make me crazy if I didn't have the Serenity Prayer tucked away for such occasions). Dave and I were in the airport yesterday, about to hop on a flight to come to one of my favorite places on earth, Cabo San Lucas. For some odd reason, my boarding pass from Phoenix to Cabo didn't have my seat assignment on it. Dave's did, and he booked us to sit together several months ago (we like each other, still, so we try to sit together). So, when I got to the gate, I approached the gate agent (maybe I should mention this airline is not one on which I have any status, so I was unclear as to how things worked for them). I asked her if she could assign the seat for me next to Dave, as he had booked it that way. She looked at the boarding pass that didn't have a seat assignment on it, and then handed it back to me and said, "That's not my station." I have NO idea what those words meant in this context, so I may or may not have looked at her like I had NO idea what she had just said (ummm...because I didn't). I cocked my head to the side, and asked, "What 'station' can help me?" She looked at me like I had just told her that her pants were too tight on her, and she said, "I am not working this station." More cocking of my head, so I am certain I now look like one of our Labs when they hear the word "treat" or the word "walk", but I am not excited like they are. I am just plain confused (no pun intended). "Ummmm....you're not working this station where you are standing at the computer?" She now looked at me like I had a horn coming out of my head, and she said (a bit curtly this time), "That's right. I am here but I am not working this flight." I know I shouldn't have pressed it, but I asked, "The flight that boards in 10 minutes?" She nodded (words must have failed her by this point). "Is there a possibility you could tell me whose station this might be, then, so I can get a seat assignment?" She responded, "My partner who works this station will be here in about 10 minutes." This time, I kept it to myself, but my thought was, of course, "The flight that boards in 10 minutes???" Instead, I simply said "Thank you" and went back to Dave, so much more confused than when I had begun that conversation.
As a person who believes in the power of communication, and that HOW we say things sometimes matters more than WHAT we say, I was stymied. My suggestion is to simply answer customer's questions in a different manner. If someone asks a question like, "Can you help me get a seat assignment?" the answer "It's not my station" simply invites and breeds negativity. On the contrary, "Someone will be with you in just a few moments to help you" invites a belief that everyone behind that counter has not lost their ever-lovin' minds.
Just for today, I invite you to think about how you say things to your loved ones, your co-workers, or the customers who are coming to you with questions.
In the meantime, I am enjoying being in my happy place (a.k.a. Cabo).