This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 5, 2003

Customer Appreciation on the Rise?

Customers in most environments have become accustomed to a level of service that is less than what is desired. Suppliers of goods and services and their employees just do not seem to care enough about their customers; the appreciation just isn't there. Employers invest huge sums of money in customer service training, to encourage people to be nice.

In our rush-rush, stress-filled world, it is easy to forget to be nice, to look at the people you are talking to, to say "thank you." In our slowed economy, more companies have become aware of their fragile relationship with customers and we have noticed a slight improvement in customer service. Some people are taking that extra moment to be courteous, recognizing the importance of those customers who choose to do business with them---a wise strategy in today's competitive world. This extra attention is surprising and delighting customers.

Here is a warm example from United Airlines, a company that is struggling to hold its customers and attract other fliers who have choices about which airline to use. Listen to this story from one of our subscribers. "Just had the most wonderful surprise on United flight from Chicago to Dulles. The flight attendant handed out a Hershey Nugget with a business card from the pilot. Printed on the card: "Here is a small nugget of my appreciation for your continued business. Thank You! Captain Darren M. Tidler" He also personally signed it and included his email address. It's a small thing, but I was touched by his thoughtfulness." Other subscribers sent us similar stories. One wrote "One pilot came back and sat next to me at one portion of a flight and thanked me for my business. We chatted, and it was pleasant and soooo loyalty reinforcing. Now I am getting those little cards, sometimes placed on my seat when I go to the bathroom."

Some of our readers may wonder why we would write about such a simple thing as customer service. We see these actions as unusual, certainly welcome, and likely to stimulate a trend---at least among competing airlines.

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