Sunday, March 20, 2011
United Gate Agent WOWS With a Simple Act of Kindness
I fly a lot. When I say a lot, I mean a LOT. This is not a plea for sympathy or an act of bragging. It’s just to give context to what happened to me — a simple act of kindness that I have never experienced in all the times I have flown.
I was sitting at a United Airlines gate waiting for my plane from Chicago to Detroit, when the gate agent called my name. This alone surprised me. Although I am an “elite” flyer on many airlines I am “nothing” to United Airlines. Usually you’re only called to the gate if you are going to be upgraded, which I knew was impossible.
I walked up to the gate agent, Liz Williams, who said to me, “I noticed that you were sitting at the back of the plane and I wondered if you wanted to move closer to the front? I have a window seat that you might find more comfortable.”
WOW! I was totally taken aback.
No one in all the miles I have flown has ever asked if I wanted to move my seat for my own comfort. There have been hundreds of times when I have begged a gate agent for a more comfortable seat. Mostly, I am treated as a bother. “Sigh” they usually respond, “Let me see what I can do.”
Sometimes I am upgraded when the computer spits out my name. And as much as I appreciate being upgraded, I appreciated this event even more.
I realized that it meant that I was no longer only a “filled seat”, no longer a bother. Ms. Williams thought of me as a human being with needs, wants and desires.
This act of one person helping out another person wowed me.
Wowing the customer didn’t cost Ms. Williams or the airlines a single cent. But it had a huge effect. It made me think, “Wow, maybe I should fly United more often?”
I translated her one act of kindness as an example of how United will treat me in the future.
What simple act of thoughtfulness can you do to wow your customer?