Secret 1: Have them at “hello.”
Today’s airport experience is enough to make anyone grumpy. You haul your carry-on around and wait in an endless line, only for the reward of being poked and prodded by TSA. The customer service agents are smiling, making eye contact and actually conversing – and not from a script
Secret 2: Don’t hoard customer service feedback on a “need to know” basis.
It’s shared with everyone in the organization, from front-line agents to pilots to baggage handlers. That way everyone knows for a fact what customers are thinking and feeling about their service, and not just the disgruntled ones who don’t hold back. Sometimes employees miss out on hearing the good stuff too!
Another way to really hammer home the importance of customer service is by putting your money where your mouth is. Alaska Airlines knows that it’s the front-line employees who contribute to its financial success, so when the company makes money, the employees do, too. Last year, Alaska paid out more than $98 million in bonuses to its 14,000 employees, an average of five weeks of salary in a year-end bonus for every employee.
Secret 3: Give employees the keys and point them to the destination.
Every JetBlue employee is told two things: “do what is right” and “put the humanity back into air travel”. Then, they are offered broad latitude to decide how to put that into practice with their guests.
Most customer service programs focus on providing scripted words and actions that are one-size-fits-all… and that’s why they fail. JetBlue sees and listens to their frontline employees as the most important touchstone for customers. Their leaders are tasked with creating a great working environment and providing support and training – but they allow their people to “take the wheel” when it comes to doing what’s right for customers.
If you really want to energize your team, get them talking about their best customer service experiences, and how your team can replicate them with your own customers. Helping them see the point on the map where you’re trying to arrive will allow them to make the right decisions in the moment with customers – particularly when roadblocks pop-up.