|Gorgeous beach sunset|
Talented, I guess.
The baggage claims representatives in Fort Myers Beach kept insisting that we must have missed our luggage. "Are you sure it's not there? Did you check the ones in our office?"
That second question annoyed me each and every time they asked it. Why? Because we were standing in their office, a mere two feet from the baggage referred to.
So, where did it go? Providence, Rhode Island.
Yes, you read that correctly, Rhode Island.
They gave us an overnight essentials bag, pathetic in its offerings, and told us if our bags made it on the next flight, they would come in the next day around 11:19am. We could drive back to the airport to get it, or, if we wanted them to deliver it, we would have it no later than 6pm tomorrow.
When I pointed out that this was a beach vacation, and we just lost an entire beach day, the representative looked at me and said, "It's probably going to rain, anyway."
I train customer service representatives on a regular basis. Mistakes happen. I get that. The key is what you do when those mistakes happen. I tell all of my workshop attendees this one secret: The most powerful word in customer service is empathy.
Instead, we received denial.
"Your bags must be here."
"There's no way the bags aren't here."
"We don't know how it happened."
"It's probably going to rain, anyway."
We didn't even get an, "I'm sorry."
I travel a good bit, so I know lost luggage happens. We knew they couldn't blink their eyes or snap their fingers to produce our baggage, but they could have apologized AND empathized with us. The perfect opportunity came when I mentioned the lost day at the beach. The woman could have said, "I would be disappointed, too, if this happened to me," or "Losing your bags on vacation can be frustrating."
No, it doesn't fix a thing, but it does express understanding and compassion. It takes a few seconds and makes the world of a difference to the customers when the representative stops for a moment to acknowledge and accept what they are feeling. Instead, our rep says, "It's probably going to rain, anyway."
Incidentally, on our return trip, the same woman checked in our bags. I told her to make sure they didn't go to Rhode Island. Once she recognized us, she told us the bag scanners in Charlotte had not been working on the day we flew out. (I guess the baggage handlers can't read either.) She promised our bags would make it home, and they did. At least, the airline got that part right.
Luckily, that was one of the few hiccups in our vacation. We enjoyed a wonderful week of the beach, gorgeous sunsets, a wide variety of wildlife, and, when it did rain, a movie.
What good or bad experiences have you had on a trip? Did the people working with you express any empathy?