Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I'm not sure humans are all that clear about what they really want.
You believe you want something, but when you get it, oh, it isn't quite what you'd hoped.
When it comes to flying, however, you might imagine that passengers would want friendliness, helpfulness and even human sensitivity from flight attendants.
Ah, but a survey among American Airlines passengers suggests something a little more structured.
We're talking about First Class passengers here.
As View From The Wing reports, American Airlines wanted to know what makes satisfaction scores among First Class passengers rise and what gives them turbulence.
The answer was that these exalted few wanted flight attendants to know their names and to offer them a drink before takeoff.
It seems that if either one of these things isn't seen or heard, First Classers immediately downgrade their opinion of the service. Substantially.
Honestly, the egos of these people.
Who on earth do they think they are? Yes, they (or their companies) have paid more money for the seat. And what they want in return is to be treated like Brad Pitt?
I feel sure that several psychologists are already sharpening their responses for an influx of disappointed First Class passengers.
I flew First Class on American and the Flight Attendant didn't know who I was! I haven't felt so neglected since my mom left me alone for an hour to go and play bingo!
How odd that these passengers don't think about the basic sensitivities of service.
The sense of timing. The awareness of when to leave a passenger alone and when to offer them something. The smile that feels more genuine than professional.
Aren't these some of the essences of great service?
I wonder, though, how passengers in Economy Class would respond to such a survey.
They know that they're in a place where nobody knows their names.
They realize that they're just slipping their bottoms into a tiny space, having been nickel-and-dimed through the nose for that tiny space.
They won't be offered a drink before takeoff. At some point, they'll be offered a drink by a harassed Flight Attendant desperate to finish the service.
They'll likely have to pay for their food. And it won't be the boeuf bourgignon the fancy people get up front.
But if a flight attendant is welcoming, helps them with their baby or even lets them sit in an empty seat near the back after takeoff, they'll believe this was excellent customer service.
True customer service surely isn't the performance of some predetermined ritual.
It's the basic exercise of civility, as expressed by one human being toward another.