I had an awful experience with Jetstar Tuesday and experienced exceptional customer service as a result.
My usual expectations of Jetstar are that I arrive alive and that the service does not totally suck. It’s a cheap airline and you get what you pay for.
Briefly, I had to get from the Sunshine Coast to Auckland Tuesday afternoon and the only option was Jetstar to Sydney for a connecting flight to Auckland. At the Sunshine Coast airport Jetstar announced a 10 minute delay due to operational requirements and then another. Operational requirements? It’s airline speak for we’re late and not going to tell you why.
After the second delay announcement I explained that I had an internatipnal connection. The person at the gate told me the truth of what had caused the delay and gave a believable estimate of the new departure time. A passenger departing the incoming flight has dislodged and broken an exit sign cover. A replacement was being driven from Brisbane. I was going to miss my connection and was not happy but kept that emotion internal as this person was not responsible and was honest with me.
I was sent back to the check in desk where the duty manager took on sorting something out for me. It’s this person who showed me what great customer service is all about. She was on the phone navigating Jetstar and Qantas to find the best way to get me to Auckland. The only option was to get the delayed flight to Sydney and then SYD-AKL Wednesday morning.
The customer service was good because I saw her efforts for me. This Jetstar representative was transparent about the situation, clear in her communication and doing everything in her power to help me. Despite the delay and missing the connecting flight, the customer service experience was far better than I had ever expected from Jetstar.
I was thinking about this when sitting on the delayed flight to Sydney a few hours later and realised that the excellent customer service was not delivered by Jetstar but by the person representing them. Sure companies can have staffing levels and processes to deliver the customer service it is commercially prepared to deliver, the actual experience comes down to the individual, the customer-facing person working on the issue you bring to them. The right person can make even a mediocre company look good. The wrong person can make an exceptional company look bad.
Indeed, my inner glow about Jetstar was adjusted during the flight to Sydney when I saw a member of the cabin crew act rudely to a passenger, treating them differently to others and publicly rebuking them in an offensive way and then openly complaining about it to a colleague on-board. Thud! I was back in this is Jetstar mode – all because of unnecessarily poor customer service delivered by an individual most likely acting outside the requirements of the company.
What our customers think about our businesses depends on the people we employ, train, manage and motivate in customer-facing roles. Our role as business owners is to create an environment that encourages our people to serve customers above and beyond what we want delivered in our name.