Attitude is Everything
Recently I was flying Southwest Airlines from Raleigh-Durham, N.C. to Kansas City, Mo., for an important keynote presentation at a large conference. I honestly did not see that I had a connecting flight in St. Louis; neither my flight itinerary nor ticket indicated a stop along the way! I fly over a hundred times each year and connecting flights are always listed.
Sleeping with ear plugs on during the flight, I never heard the flight attendant announce about staying on the plane to connect further to Kansas City. When we landed in St. Louis, I got off the plane and then hurried to the shuttle taking me to the offsite rental car area.
As I walk up to the rental car agent, I say, “Hello, my name is Kevin Snyder and I have a reservation.” The agent looks at her computer screen, then back at me, and, without a care in the world, says, “No you don’t.” She was apparently having a bad day and showing it.
I knew she was incorrect but her blunt rudeness is what irritated me most. I then pull out my phone to show her just how wrong she was. I reply with a matching attitude, “Yes, I do.”
The rental car agent takes the phone from my hand, scans it, and says with a smirk, ‘Honey, you do have a reservation but it ain’t at this airport. You’re in St. Louis, not Kansas City.”
My stomach sinks, I feel blood rush to my face and I hear people behind me now laughing. As I turn around, I see a Southwest plane taking off. I look back at the rental car agent and notice that her name badge read “Dorothy” … I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz.
I pick up my bags and jump on the next shuttle taking me back to the airport. As I rush off the shuttle and back to the ticketing counter, I read the flight screen which confirms that I did indeed miss my flight to Kansas City.
Sweating and frustrated, I approach the Southwest ticketing counter and meet Joy—I wish I had gotten her last name. I noticed her eyes glancing at the sweat falling down my cheek. She politely asks with a smile, ‘How can I help you?”
I first admit my ignorance and stupidity to Joy about getting off the plane at the wrong airport. Joy didn’t even blink an eye though. Calmly, she just smiled and said, “I’ll get you on the next flight, dear. Not a problem.” Joy went to work on her magical computer and within 30 seconds handed me a boarding pass for the next flight. I asked Joy how much and she responded, “Don’t worry about it. We’re glad you’re flying Southwest.”
After getting through security, again, and checking twice to ensure I was at the correct gate, I submitted an online comment to Southwest Airlines and commended them. I wanted them to know about Joy and her excellent customer service – her attitude. I also wrote a blog about the experience and shared the link on all my social media outlets. To date, I’ve had hundreds of ‘Likes’, comments, retweets and emails from others who read about my experience. Southwest recently invited me to speak at a conference as well.
We all know that people are more likely to gripe and complain about something not being to their satisfaction. Therefore, take time and commend individuals when they go above and beyond. When you enjoy what you do in your career, you should want to provide great customer service. Your attitude determines your altitude!
How would you rank your attitude? How often do you want to help others in your leadership role? Are you a ‘Dorothy’ or are you a ‘Joy?’
Since this experience, I’ve only flown Southwest. It PAYS to have a good attitude – it builds loyal customers and simply gets the job done.
Kevin Snyder, author and motivational speaker, is a 1998 Delt from the Zeta Tau Chapter at UNC-Wilmington. To learn more about Snyder, visit his website.