“Customer First, Always!” it’s a Mindset Challenge

June 30, 2017

How to turn a ‘Perfect Storm’ brewing into a very positive Consumer Experience…


By Heiner Luepertz – Associate | Business Operations Management – June 2017


This is a story about a very positive experience I recently had with an airline reservation centre.

Because of personal circumstances I had to change our holiday flights and I knew it would be difficult because of the days we needed to fly: during the global vacation high-season and the annual ‘expat exodus’ from Dubai at the start of the summer – indeed a perfect storm in the making.

With some foreboding I called the reservation centre. It took around 10 minutes to finally get an Agent on the line, which was too long but….from the moment the Agent picked up the phone, I had one of the most pleasant experiences with a Call Centre.

She was very polite, calm and professional. She provided us with an alternative option exactly on the day we needed to fly. It took 25 minutes to change all bookings including issuing of the new tickets, which I received by email while I was still on the phone with her.

What can we learn for this?

Airline reservation centres handle hundreds of calls every day. Customers are often disappointed, angry, or frustrated because their flights have been cancelled, delayed or they cannot get the desired connections, and as it is human nature to let off steam as soon as we find a willing victim, i.e. the first ‘real’ person they get on the phone when calling a reservation centre.

Airline Call Centre Agents are indeed the ones feeling the heat in these situations. Yet, the person I spoke with, made me feel at ease, comfortable and through her attitude and behavior de-escalated the whole situation within seconds. She clearly had her mind set on solving the problem of her customer in the quickest and most satisfying way.

The customer always comes first, especially in crisis situations. Call Centre Agents can do a lot to make customers feel valued and listened to, certainly when they are given the authority and policies / procedures to make on the spot decisions.

Indeed those ‘spot’ decisions do not always benefit the airline’s bottom-line from a transactional perspective but tend to go a long way in creating, profitable, repeat purchases in the future. Achieving operational excellence by successfully connecting customers with employees, processes and systems to create positive experiences leading to repeat business is what good Business Operations Management is all about.

Click here to contact us if your organization could do with help in this area; we have experts on our team of Associates who have helped organizations successfully steer a ‘Customer First, Always!’ course and are very eager to help your organization achieve it’s Customer Service objectives as well!!

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