A BIG part of the cabin crew role is customer service. We’ve all been a customer on a flight, right? How have your experiences differed depending on where you flew to, with which airline and who was working as crew that day?
A personal experience
One of our team recently flew to Alicante with a small baby. Leaving the UK it was pouring with rain and the wind was howling (as was the baby!) It made all the difference that one of the cabin crew noticed her struggling up the steps, quickly leaving her dry spot on the aircraft to help get our team mate’s luggage up the stairs. Not only that, she stowed the suitcases in an overhead locker (recognising that this would be tricky while holding a baby) and escorted mum and baby to their seat.
Stand out levels of care
This level of customer service stood out because it was helpful, considerate and responsive. Simple actions made the flight slightly easier and more pleasant. But this was down to the individual and not necessarily the training, because other crew may not have reacted in the same way. Some of how crew behave comes down to their personality; some of it their experience.
Gaining useful experience
So what sort of experience of customer service translates well to the role of cabin crew?
Airport roles –
what’s useful about gaining experience in an airport is getting used to the environment and also dealing with customers from a wide range of different cultures and countries.
restaurants, bars, cafes, fast-food outlets all offer advantages for gaining experience of working quickly and cooperatively with a team, dealing with money accurately and remaining pleasant and helpful under pressure.
telesales positions may not seem obvious with regard to customer service but they will help you develop a thick skin and to not take things personally! Other sales jobs e.g. estate agency, double glazing, insurance etc. get the best results when the seller understands what the customer needs. This is a valuable skill for cabin crew.
caring roles can be under-estimated as it might seem that there aren’t any customers. There are, they are just called ‘patients’ or ‘residents’, and they need consideration and a sensitive and helpful approach, much like passengers do.
Teaching/child care –
teachers and child carers need to take care of their ‘customers’ (the children and their parents) by communicating clearly, anticipating needs and being alert to changing circumstances which impact on the group. Cabin crew also need to do these things, even if most of their customers are adults!
office based roles will still have customers, whether these are internal t the company e.g. other departments, or external i.e. suppliers and purchasers. How these relationships are managed and how efficiently the tasks are done will make all the difference to how successfully the job is done, which is very transferable to an airline environment.