When I fly, I tend to fly Delta. The choice of Delta is primarily based on access and benefits. Fargo’s Hector Airport only has so many carriers; and, while I travel a fair amount, I don’t travel enough to reach priority status on more than one airline. Hence, I mostly travel via Delta.
I have had my ups and downs with Delta (literally and figuratively). For the most part, Delta has been pretty good to me. In my many years flying primarily Delta I have generally held a good opinion of it’s employees – particularly their airport and flight- based employees. I value companies who recognize the importance of customer service and who empower their employees to make good customer service a priority. I believe Delta so empowers their employees – which makes doing right by customers much easier.
This is not to say that I have never complained about Delta or its service – I most certainly have. My point is that I think the company’s greatest asset is in it’s people. They are the ones that ultimately make or break the Delta experience.
The fact is, that even when dealing with a late or canceled flight where everything that can go wrong does – an understanding and upbeat Delta employee can result in passengers walking away satisfied with Delta’s performance. We are willing to overlook a lot with the right blend of TLC (tender loving care – for those of you too young to recognize this acronym).
My family’s experience over the past day is a prime example. Yesterday when our plane had mechanical problems that were discovered prior to boarding, the Captain himself came out and explained the situation to the passengers. I got on the phone to Delta’s 1-800 line to examine alternate flight options and received excellent service from the telephone representative (Megan). Even though the news was not good (we were not able to be rerouted home that day), the kindness and care we received from both the telephone representative and the gate staff (thank you Lauren and Kenneth at San Jose’s Mineta Airport) made the news more bearable.
As I write this I am returning to Fargo out of Salt Lake City. It has been a long journey home and we are all tired. I am seated in the first row after first class on a CRJ700 – which frequent fliers will recognize puts me about 2/3 of the way into the aisle where it zig zags. This seat allows me to see everything that is going on in the front end of the plane. From this seat I am able to watch the safety protocols, see what the flight attendants are up to, and get a great view of the cockpit (before the door was closed). It is from this seat that I was first able to determine that the Delta flight attendants on this flight (DL 4505, 3/18/12) were going to be delightful. The flight attendants – Mary and Scott -are the kind of flight attendants that weary travelers want to see. Happy, upbeat, pleasant, smiling, and approachable.
I had more of an opportunity from my seat to observe Mary than Scott (FYI: Cheyenne has designated Scott as her favorite flight attendant). Mary was tasked with most of the first class responsibilities and spent more time stationed in the front of the plane. What a lovely personality she shared with the passengers on the plane. I watched her light and easygoing demeanor produce smiles, giggles, and appreciative thank yous from those she interacted with and in watching her spread happiness, I found myself smiling. She made the mood on the plane merry and that matters to customers like me who value customer service.
Take note airlines and other customer service driven enterprises – your employees’ demeanor and ability to serve customers will make or break you. In my estimation Delta’s employees did them proud these past couple of days. ;-)
Day nine hundred and eighty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da