In this job, there’s never a shortage of unusual travel experiences. And many could be considered “teaching moments.”
The gate agent for a recent flight said my name over the intercom. (Nothing else, just my name. No instructions, such as “please see me at the desk,” just my name.) As I walked up, she was looking down at the notes on her desk. I said, “Hi, my name is Mike Anderson, and you just paged me.” Then, without so much as looking up from her desk, she slapped a new boarding pass (first class!) on the counter and shoved it my way. She did not say, “Hello.” She did not smile. Nothing.
Here’s why this matters: Airline upgrades just don’t happen as often as they used to. And if you travel a lot, they’re kind of a big deal. (More room to open up your laptop and get work done, and better snacks and beverages.) As often as gate agents have to deliver bad news to the traveling public, you would think she might have savored this opportunity build on the goodwill an upgrade to first class represents. It would have made the trip—and the airline—more memorable and enjoyable.
Nothing went wrong with this experience. It just didn’t go nearly as right as it could have.
Witnessing the exchange, a flight attendant who was boarding the plane paused and looked me straight in the eyes, and acknowledged the curious look on my face. She just said, “I know, right?” (So I wasn’t the only person who thought the gate agent was a little abrupt.)
Salespeople and their managers are generally pretty good about doing everything they can to elevate the enjoyment of a purchase experience, and make the customer feel really good about their decision to do business. After all, if you work in that capacity, the client’s satisfaction is your bread and butter. But it’s important that we check-in with anyone else in the organization who might come into contact with the customer, too… to make sure they understand the power of courtesy and competence in the art of customer retention. And celebrate customer service performances that go above and beyond the call of duty. Your customer will remember such experiences… and your staff should, too.
Sales talent management should not be limited to salespeople. Make sure you’re coaching everyone who will come into contact with the client after the (first) sale has been made.