Would it hurt to smile?

 By Jeff Bowman

Ah, the contradiction between great customer service and “who cares” customer service. It amazes me.

smiley-faceRecently I travelled to Saskatoon on business. I booked the trip with Alf at Beeline Travel in Georgetown.  My request was simple – a room a car rental and a return air flight. It was met with enthusiasm and within a few minutes I had my reservations via e-mail, with the promise of a hard copy. I was thanked by Alf, who clearly understands that good service impacts on future buying decisions. I felt good and well looked after.

My trip was both frigid and fantastic.  Everything went off without a hitch.  I was astounded at how nice everyone was from the front desk clerk at the hotel, to the people in the restaurants to the participants in my workshop.  They presented me with an Indian painting to show their appreciation for me coming out to work with them. On the flight home I was preparing this “great service” story.

Now contrast this great experience with the treatment I received when I went to retrieve my car from one of those well-known airport parking services. There was no line at the gate, as I drove up to the exit. I waited patiently for the window to open as I could see my attendant was busy on the phone.

Eventually the window opened, I handed her my ticket and I was greeted with “this your ticket”?  Uhh, yes.  “You were only gone a day and a half”? again, uhh, yes. The window closed and re-opened.  I handed her a $50 and was met with “that all you have”, uhh yes I replied again. I then made the mistake of asking her to add my aeroplan number.  If looks could kill, I was dead in my seat. “Why didn’t you give it to me when you drove up?” my interrogator asked with a grimace. Slam went the window.

About two minutes later the window opened; my change and card were returned. “Excuse me” I asked, “which direction is the 401?” “The same way you came here” I was told. The window closed, as did any chance that I will ever use that lot again or recommend it.

When I got home there was a letter in my mailbox.  Inside was a printed card from Alf and it said, “Welcome home from your trip.  I hope all went well and your presentation was a success.  Thanks for booking with me.”

Wow! From worst to first in a period of 24 hours! For those in the know, service and that little extra touch reign supreme! 

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1 Comment

Filed under Customer Service

One response to “Would it hurt to smile?

  1. Pingback: Topics about Travel » Would it hurt to smile?

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