By John Igbinosun
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. Brace for impact!” – Capt. Chesley Sullenberger.
The cast and credits of what I can only but term a real service motion picture roll pass my eyes on the now darkened screen. I look around to make sure no one is looking and then I wipe a tear with a subtle smile of pleasure and satisfaction.
I picture myself on board the US Airways flight 1549. Being a part of all that would have ensued before, during and after the plane crash. My heart still skips a beat with flashes of intense suspense and extreme risk that was executed.
The movie “Sully” has really captured the essence of determination and commitment to ensure a close to perfect delivery of service.
If you have watched the movie – and I hope after this you would – you would totally agree that it is possible to practice all the necessary rules by the book and still experience an unexpected mishap. A ball could have been dropped by a colleague, a technical glitch with systems or just a plain old knowledge gap between a representative and a customer. Life happens and there is nothing you can do about it. In this case, life threw birds at them that caused major damage to the engines of the airplane.
Question then plays out to ask yourself, what happens when faced with that major service failure and the expectation to hold the Herculean task of brand redemption and customer satisfaction at highest levels lies in you? Most times it’s just a matter of seconds given. At this point, all you learned must come to play and the most important factor yet comes to bare.
Apply yourself and not just the rules.
It has been said before that there are basic steps and rules to establishing a good consumer-service provider relationship. I do appreciate that fact but always urge on for that missing factor in every encounter. That factor is You, the service personnel. The only reason why we can’t entirely trust machines with everything is because they have no human emotions or feelings to know when to take life changing decisions that may forever change the experience of a customer.
Captain Sullenberger had switched to all possible back up and auto systems for support, but ended up applying himself, his experiences and his own gut instinct to save 115 people on board. Now that’s what I call some deep service recovery of life!!! In his words, he said with deep conviction, “no one ever trained for an incident like that.”
Have you ever been talking to a client and he/she drops that one question that leaves you so puzzled and clueless? Well I sure have been there tons of times. But this is not the end of the world. It has never been a crime to seek clarification on grey areas and contact the client back. Would you rather be the one who gave the wrong information and caused major dismal service or be the hero, who first asks questions, gets clarification and then provides the needed information? Trust me, its better late than wrong!
“I have had 40 years in the air, but in the end, I am going to be judged by 208 seconds” – Capt. Chesley Sullenberger.
You will be battered for doing well sometimes.
Because there are always two sides to a coin, some of the seemingly great efforts to ensure a client is satisfied can be turned and used against you. I once had a client who accused me of having a verbal conversation to ensure I had his contact and itinerary while abroad. Did he speak with me? Sort of, via an email and not a call. Next thing I see is an email from my supervisor copying my unit head to explain the “great disservice” rendered. I did feel a tad upset about that, but I love writing, so I replied the email (smiles).
Captain Sully faced major bashing from stakeholders trying to protect their own interests despite the world seeing him as a hero. But he was most confident that what he did was right and refused to be deterred or give in.
I really can’t exhaust all that needs to be said about that movie, but I do know that teamwork, thorough skill, application of one’s self to the job and much more were applied to give the success story. This can also be everyone’s testimony if only some self-application is given and due diligence observed.
Now go get the movie and share your thoughts with me pronto.
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