Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Gift of Service

Steve Slater, the suddenly infamous JetBlue flight attendant, is the newest face of thankless customer service work. Like a lot of folks, I can empathize with his story. However, when I heard his story, I was immediately taken back to the following passage from Seth Godin's newest book, Linchpin, page 168-9 (fyi- it's an excellent read).

"Think of the flight attendant standing at the exit of the plane, saying "B'bye, B'bye" over and over again, doing it because she must, not because she wants to.

The intent of the giver and the posture of the recipient are critical. I'm not arguing that you fake your attitude and cop a new behavior just to get ahead.

Working the first-class cabin at British Airways can be a nightmare job. Spoiled, tired executives are waited on by flight attendants for hours on end, rarely earning the service they demand. Sure, they paid for it, but all too often, they're not open or receptive to it.

The secret to working this flight, I've been told by the people who do the work, is to realize that the extraordinary service being delivered is not for the passenger, it's not for British Airways. It's for the flight attendant.

The most successful givers aren't doing it because they're being told to. They do it because doing it is fun. It gives them joy.

Sure, it would be better if they got paid a fair wage, and it would be a lot better if more passengers appreciated their work. But until those two things happen, the most successful and happiest flight attendants will be embracing their art, not looking for someone to applaud them. If their airline started using hidden cameras and customer report forms to push them to do it more, they'd actually do it less. Manipulated art (even the art of service) ceases to be art."

Don't ever forget: circumstance is often uncontrollable; however our attitude and reactions are entirely within our control. The happiest and most successful people never forget this.

1 comment:

Alexander said...

Some great stuff on the JetBlue brand from Adage. Link below: