Monday, April 8, 2013
Perhaps some middle ground?
Further to my experiences yesterday of professionals providing we punters with a littletoo much detail about the machinations of their responsibilities in theinterests of outstanding customer service, today we have an all-too-different approach on offer.
Now to be clear up front, today’s long haul flight is my first in many years which has not been with an Asian carrier, and this is my first time ever to have flown with Australia’s national carrier on any journey longer than a couple of hours, so the approach to customer service that is being displayed by the flight crew today may simply be a reflection of cultural diversity.
If one were to view the key to herding passengers on and off a plane and through the lengthy flight as being a customer service exercise best executed with a gentle, carrot and stick mentality, then one can clearly see from amongst the Southeast Asian carriers a pleasant, gentle, overly hospitable manner to coax people along, much as you might expect to experience when invited to share a meal in the home of a Thai or Vietnamese host.
This contrasts dramatically with our Australian hosts who are today dispensing with the carrot, grabbing the stick in two, muscular, tattooed sheep-shearer’s arms, and adopting a threatening stance while staring down any potential opposition with aggressively flared nostrils. Today, we passengers are being subject to a high rotation of disgruntled, waspish directions from the ageing purser in her most condescending, School Marmish sneer;
“I would like to remind all passengers that the Captain has put the fasten seat belt light on and you are all to sit down immediately”, followed a couple of minutes later by an even more snidey,
“Passengers are again reminded to stop getting out of your seats”, and a few minutes later – thoroughly pissed now at the passenger body’s general affront to her authority,
“Right, now … for the safety of all the passengers you need to siddown and keep your seat belt on!”.
And then, in a final, exasperated attempt to address the insolence of the anarchic, seat-belt flaunting passengers throughout the cabin, our irritated purser must have gone to a higher authority. The Captain’s voice crackled aggressively on the intercom,
“Ah it has been brought to my attention that passengers are not observing the fasten seat belt sign. May I remind you that I control this vessel and it is not your decision to walk around the cabin … it’s mine!”.
Ha! If there’s one thing that’s gonna drive this passenger to mile-high lawlessness, it’s a direct order from someone in self-imposed authority! Two days; two customer service don’ts! How ironic that Australia’s national carrier is currently in political hot water at home for sending all its maintenance services offshore to Asia; the exact place which would serve it well in terms of learning some improved approaches to customer service.
The purser on today's flight delivered a pretty good rendition of the embittered, angry school marm. Pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leahpraytor/5042543533/