Service With an Attitude

Bad things happen that companies can’t control. Like airlines. They can’t control weather or weather delays or the cascade of customer problems that come with a monsoon like Atlanta has just experienced. Delta had equipment scattered all over the US and out of position due to the storms and flooding. It happens and, while frustrating, it is acceptable and understandable. Given all that they had going against them today, I am just glad I got to my destination (even though it took a long, long time).

What I’m not OK with, however, is that when there are things that companies can control go wrong. Like attitude. Now, I admit it. I committed the unpardonable sin by not ending my cell phone call when the boarding door was shut; being on a conference call with several key people I planned to end my part of the call politely and hang up. Unfortunately I never got the chance. I was spotted by Frau Blucher (aka the Flight Attendant) who proceeded to confront me with an attitude that said “I’m not putting up with you!” Her exact words were “Did you hear the announcement? That was for EVERYBODY!” followed by a stare that would freeze water.

I’ve thought about this a lot today. Clearly I’m ticked. But I’m also thinking about my business. Things go wrong—things I can’t control. Customers tend to understand those. But what about my attitude? What about the way I speak to people? In the service business (and who’s not in the service business) there is literally no place for bad attitude and rude speech!

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