Travel Industry: Can Customer Service All be the Same?

A recent trip to London meant I had to get on a plane, and deal with check-ins, self-service kiosks, security rules and of course taking off my shoes to make sure I had the all clear. All part of the fun of course. Customer service is everywhere we go, and its there within the travel industry even more so.

I’m a stickler for good customer service. It’s what i do and what i see with every interaction within my life.  could they have improved, could i have improved? Why didn’t they allow me to use a self-service option instead of dealing with grumpy assistants?

In such a competitive world, it’s not hard to get a good service because its become the norm.  Some companies actually pride themselves on offering customer service as well as the actual business model and product. So why can’t all businesses offer it? Why haven’t benchmarks changed in recent years?  Well the main problem i see is that we need and often demand an instant service.

The airline industry is a classic example and probably the most profiled.  Millions of people travel by plane every day and that’s millions going through airports dealing with check in staff, security and food servers. Some receive excellent customer service throughout the experience, and some receive hit and miss service.  A thought came to me.  Can there be such a thing as vanilla customer service?  or better said, benchmarked customer service to the same unified standard.

A few things happened to me on the journey abroad.  The check-in in girl offered an excellent service and once i got on the plane, the steward was terribly rude.  Same airline, same training.  One is more tired perhaps, and that same person has to offer the best service.

What’s the reason? Is there a reason or are staff just tired of explaining some of the rules, such as ‘no phone’ rules or using their ‘official headphones’ during takeoff and landing?

And an even better question…why should the customer suffer?

Seems that training  staff in the art of customer service has to be heavily alters depending on the role of the company.  those who are likely to have harsher conditions need to have more flexibility to be in control.  So that they don’t suffer as well.


is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe