Surprise! (Your Customers)

Meikah posted on her blog about how Air Philippines surprised her the other day. How did they surprise her? They did what companies should do when it comes to customer service.

Examine the customer service experience and the elements that likely surprised Meikah:

  • She called the airlines. A human, not a recording, answered, after just one ring.
  • The human was friendly.
  • The human (who worked in the reservations department, not the “flight status” department) was able to provide Meikah with the flight details including that it was delayed, when it left, and when it was expected to arrive.
  • The man thanked Meikah for calling and wished her a nice evening.

How often does that happen with North American airlines? Never. I don’t believe there is an airline that is based in North America (or anywhere but Asia, I believe) that answers their phone on the first ring and has friendly, and knowledgeable people on the phone.  It just doesn’t happen.

Though it may sound cynical, most customer service surprises are actually just good customer service. In today’s customer service environment, all you have to do to surprise your customers is to be better (hopefully far better) than average.

In the airline industry, far better than average doesn’t take much. I’m not sure how successful Air Philippines is, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about quite a few Asian airlines. They obviously understand customer service and realize that it is important and worth investing in.

I said I would talk about customer service week. I spent a fair amount of time browsing the web site and it was fairly interesting. The site had interesting tips that can be applied, sample agendas, and some customer service themed games. Some of the material is better than others, but the site is worth taking a look at.

My main thing against customer service week is that there should be 52 customer service weeks. A commitment to customer service should not be a one week thing, or even a quarterly or yearly thing – it is a constant commitment and a lot of work. Quite a few of the companies listed on the participant page could benefit from a constant commitment to customer service.

I didn’t have a chance to check out the other site, but I may do that over the weekend and post any cool findings on Monday.

I also have a question I’d like to ask my readers. Are you aware of any colleges, universities, or business/management schools that offer any sort of courses on customer service? I have never heard of one, but would be curious to see if there are any. If you know of any or can find some, please post some information in the comments!

2 Responses to “Surprise! (Your Customers)”

  1. Meikah said:

    Oct 06, 06 at 1:02 am

    Thanks, Doug, for this shout out! 🙂 I like the way you bulleted my experience with AirPhil. It’s made clearer.

  2. Maria Palma said:

    Oct 06, 06 at 1:32 am


    I have to be a little cynical myself – because I was just thinking…Well, it’s a little sad that we are “surprised” when we get good service!

    I completely agree with you – there should be 52 customer service weeks…However, at least we got one so far 😉