Last updated: 10:47 PM ET, Sun October 09 2016

3 Tips For Receiving Exceptional Customer Service at the Airport

Airlines & Airports | Carol Schulte | May 24, 2016

3 Tips For Receiving Exceptional Customer Service at the Airport

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

While on a recent trip flying out of Toronto Pearson to visit family in Calgary, I learned a few airport customer service tips. In fact, I’m writing to you now from some 25,000 feet up in the air, aboard flight WS663, comfortably seated in 14A (the emergency row with the extra legroom, YES!). I used Park N’ Fly valet for the first time today; I was cutting it close.

The experience was pretty good, I must say. And yet by the time we arrived at Terminal 3, it was just under an hour before takeoff. Eek! I had previously checked in online, and I knew my boarding pass was sitting in my email inbox, but I planned to print it out with my bag tag after checking in at the self-service kiosk. Unfortunately, the luggage tag printed, my boarding pass did not.

READ MORE: EasyJet Exploring Launch Of ‘Smart Shoe’

I made it to the front of the bag drop line, and the woman behind the counter (whose name I would soon learn was Samantha) was very pleasant as she asked for my boarding pass. “Um, it actually didn’t come out of the kiosk!” I exclaimed, politely yet matter-of-factly.

Which was true; it hadn’t. Although admittedly as I was in a bit of a rush, I really just grabbed the tag as soon as it came out of the printer and raced to the back of the line, all the while on the phone ordering a bottle of prosecco to be presented at the venue where the Anniversary party I’m missing tonight is taking place.

“It should have printed after all of the other tags,” Samantha said.

Oops.  “I may have run away too soon!” I confessed with a smile. I told her I’d find it in my email, so I gracefully sidestepped to the right and allowed the people behind me in line to go ahead.

It didn’t take long to retrieve the boarding pass, luckily, and so I offered it with an innocent grin.

And then I added, “It’s a little under an hour before my flight takes off; I’m still okay, right?” Looking for some empathy and reassurance, in a friendly yet emphatic way. “You should be okay!”  Phew.

And then she said “Wait one second, I’ll escort you to the front of the security line.”

Really?! At that moment I glanced down and didn’t skip a beat as I recognized her name as Samantha and immediately thanked her by her name. As she led me to the gentleman who was to check my boarding pass, I said with a smile: “Samantha is working her magic here!”

“You gotta work your magic!” she agreed, and we were all smiles. I felt like a rockstar being escorted past all of the people and straight to the front of the security line. It’s not the first time I’ve had exceptional customer service at the check-in desks, and it won’t be the last. Why? Because YOU can control more than you realize. How?

Here are three tips to receiving exceptional customer service at the airport:

1) Always show up with a smile. Greet appropriately with a “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good evening.” Kindness goes a LONG way.

2) Notice their nametags, and refer to them by their first name. If they don’t have a nametag, ask for their name early on in the conversation. As Dale Carnegie famously said, “the sweetest sound in any language is the sound of your own name.”

3) Don’t assume you’ll get special treatment, however it certainly doesn’t hurt to put the vibes out there.

READ MORE: Oslo Airport May Have Solved A Huge International Travel Headache

Even though I showed up a wee too close to my take off time, it ended up working out quite well in the end. Why? When it comes to communication on the fly, I know how to work my magic.

This blog originally appeared on Vane's website.


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