As I made my way to 31H aboard the Boeing 767 bound for London, I saw him. An older gent sitting in my row, sitting next to my seat, sitting with both arms on the armrests, sitting at 6’5 300lbs.
I had no sooner squeezed in next to him and awkwardly buckled my safety belt when he muttered, “I don’t like when strangers touch my legs.” This is where I begin frantically looking for the eject button. I tried to explain that most people find it disconcerting but he continued in his gruff voice, “I’m gonna need to use that armrest too. Not sure how we’ll work it out, but I need it.” “How about,” I return with a smile and a nod, “we use ‘Proper Stranger Etiquette’ and switch as needed?”
As we settled into the grueling, eight hour flight from Chicago, I began nodding in and out of the man’s monotone speech about his personal space that I needed to stay out of. I had fallen asleep in my chair with my knees carefully nestled into the back of the man carelessly reclining in front of me when I was awaken abruptly… my gruff neighbor was pushing my knee. “What are you doing?” I demanded. “You’re in my space!” he growled.
Apparently in a renegade mission, my knee had slid over into enemy territory. Not wanting to argue with an agitated 300lb man that has fists the size of my head and sat inches from me, I called the Flight Attendant. Surely, she’ll save me… “May I please be moved as this man is harassing me and has made me quite uncomfortable?” Not sure what she replied because the man didn’t waste a second to start yelling at her about his space and this is his space and shouldn’t he be allowed his space and stay out of his space… The Flight Attendant ran off. I wished she had taken me with her.
Enter the “bad cop” Flight Attendant: “What’s the problem here, gentleman?” I once more tried to explain my despairing case, but once more it was swallowed up in a now very public tirade by the grown man sitting next to me. I guess she felt control slipping but instead of addressing just him, she pointed at both of us and, making the scene even more public, explained that police would be waiting for us if we couldn’t act like adults. I put my head in my hands… British jail. All because of this man. He continued to turn heads with his explanation of “I AM an adult, and I don’t need a wife.” Assuming I was the wife in that comment, I buried my head deeper. After continuing on at both of us, the Flight Attendant, the one who was supposed to save me, stormed off, accomplishing nothing but making me feel like a fool – left to sit feet together, arms straight, breathing in the reclining man’s hair in front of me for the rest of the long, miserable flight.
So, that sucked.
Bad people and bad service are ruining innocent people’s days the world over. And all it ever takes to make a change is to treat others with respect – let them know they’ve been heard and are appreciated.
I sat down with Fpweb.net’s CEO, Rob LaMear IV the other day (hold for applause) and asked him what has been his most rewarding experience in our industry. He replied, “It’s watching customers continue to be loyal when we do the right thing.” He elaborated that the company is at a bit of a crossroads with all the inbound growth and strength. “The opportunity is always there to be driven by the customer or by the dollar.” He cited the push to the Cloud as an example of a major turning point for many companies. “Some will lose focus on doing what’s best for the customer. We’ve always been about the customer and doing the right thing. That’s why we’re different.”
It’s a simple strategy. Changing the age-old ‘customer’s always right’ adage (cause we know that can’t always be true) to ‘do what’s right for the customer.’ Do it right the first time so you don’t have to backpedal and try to make it right later.
Customer Service starts with a simple endeavor to serve the customer. Fpweb.net knows how important this is and has structured the company around it. Whether it’s our esteemed Support Team, the Fpweb.net Support Portal that operates every second of every day allowing customers to create support tickets as needed or just the fact that when you call, a person will answer – we know that great customer service counts.
And we would never intentionally touch your leg on an airplane.