Dealing with the WORST customers…

As cabin crew, you’ll undoubtedly come across some of the worst customers imaginable.

Like it or hate it, customer service is part of the Cabin Crew job

A happy, satisfied customer is likely to return and/or tell others about the good experiences that they had when dealing with your company. Similarly, an unhappy customer is likely to spread the word—and probably to far more people than a satisfied customer.

The key to good customer service

Providing good customer service is actually relatively easy. The key is to focus on the customer, and what they want from you.
his applies at all stages of a relationship with your customer!

1. Listen Carefully to Your Customers

It follows from this that the most important element of customer service is to listen.

You are unlikely to be able to help your customers effectively if you do not listen to what they are saying—and also what they are not saying, but may be implying in some way, or are carefully not mentioning. Pay attention to their body language, and link what you are hearing to what you know, and what other customers have said in the past. This will enable you to pull together your knowledge and ensure that you provide what the customer needs.

Notice that we said ‘needs’, not ‘wants’. Sometimes customers are not sure what they need, even if they know what they want. You may need to carefully persuade them that what they want will not actually solve their problem at all. Of course, you then need to be able to provide them with a good solution too!

We don’t have blankets on our flights, we tried to explain this to a passenger who insisted we are lying and just being lazy. She rang her call light repeatedly, bothering the passengers and crew, demanding the crew stop being lazy and please just fetch her the blankets that we, time and time again, told her we don’t have on board

Eventually I said (politely),  ‘I promise that if we had blankets it would be SO much easier to give them to you than to continue having this conversation.’ It seemed to work, though she was still muttering going off the plane. You just have to do your best!

2. Smile at Your Customers, and Make Them Feel Welcome

This is the simplest, but often the most powerful tip for customer service (and most other interpersonal interactions).

Smiles are contagious – usually when you smile at somebody, they will smile back at you. It is almost impossible to fake a smile convincingly, so we tend to respond to smiles in a very genuine way, and they help with rapport. This will help the customer to feel at ease and welcomed, and you will come across as friendly and approachable, setting the scene for a positive interaction.

Clients and customers are more likely to want to talk to a cheerful person with an enthusiastic personality, and by smiling while you talk you can help to project this.

Our wifi was down momentarily, and a passenger got right up in my face screaming at me (we had two hours left until landing, and it was an overnight flight so she was definitely disturbing other passengers who were just trying to sleep) about how her life was ruined and it was all my fault the wifi was down.

I had to threaten to report her for aggressive behaviour if she didn’t calm down.

3. Communicate Clearly and in Positive Language

Always communicate clearly to your customers, to ensure that they understand what you are offering or able to provide.

Mistakes can be expensive things to put right, so it is best to ensure that there are no misunderstandings. If it sounds like there might have been a misunderstanding, clarify it straight away: don’t wait until your customer comes back to complain.

Even if you can’t do what your customer wants—either immediately, or at all—try to frame your answer in positive language.

This does not mean that you cannot apologise for any shortcomings. The key is to focus on what you are going to do to put right the problem.

It follows that you should never complain to a customer about your organisation, your day, how busy you are, the management, your colleagues or anything else that may lead the customer to develop negative feelings.

I get that on long flights you want to get up and stretch your legs a little, no problem. But on a 90 minute short haul flight is it really necessary to get up and start doing yoga in the back galley?

Customer service and how it is delivered can make or break an organisation.

As an employee, it’s worth taking the time to develop your customer service skills to ensure that you are valuable to your employer.

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Cabin Crew Wings Team

Our team of experts have the many years as Cabin Crew plus HR experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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