Just taking the time to listen to their complaints the whole way through with out butting in (which can be very hard to do sometimes), and a sympathetic nod of the head with an "Mmmm" thrown in here and there. Usually does the trick. Sometimes people just want to get it all of their chest and when they feel that you have really listened to them and shown a bit of empathy (they dont have to know that you might think they are a t**t) then it usuallys calms down and gets them on side. It works for me anyway, i've had many apologys from pax after they have had a rant. However ther are a minority of people out there who will always love to be rude for no reason and unfortunately nothing anyone does will pacify them
I agree with Suki, you have to let them get it off their chest FIRST before you try and speak. I try to start at the beginning annd take them through it slowly and calmly, explaining any parts they don't understand. Never say 'I don't know,' as this will wind them up. Say 'I'd have to check, or explain why that thing can't be done, insurance reasons or airline policy etc.
*WRONG* PAX: You've lost my bag.... AGENT: Oh f*** off....
*LESS WRONG* PAX: You've lost my bag... AGENT: I personally haven't lost anything of yours actually but fill out this form and we'll be in touch
*SAFE BET* PAX: You've lost my bag... AGENT: Oh I'm sorry that seems to be the case (no pun intendeed). Let me check to see if there were any bags left behind at (departure point). While I do that Sir, could I ask you to fill out this form with the details of your bag. (I guarantee there will be a Gucci watch and handbag, Prada shoes, an iPod, colour TV and/or medication or other extrodinarily valuable items that said pax believes will be covered by the Airline.) The pax will ALSO tell you that they were not given their baggage receipts. This is more amusing when you can see them stuck to the ticket.
So to sum up, let them speak first, don't lose your temper with them and remember that they are under duress while travelling and you do this everyday. Make them feel confident in YOUR abilities to your JOB...
8565 - your post reminds me of one of those workplace 'instructional' videos you see all too often - cheap set, corny lines. Alls thats missing from your post is 2 aspiring but useless actors acting out the scene, who randomly 'freeze' when John Cleese walks on set and narrates - while the captive audience waits for him to say something funny, only to be sorely dissapointed when he sticks to the ever so boring script.
I agree, I find if you listen, and dont interrupt, it works. Of course, if they start off completely rude and abusive, i will just stop, and stare at them until theyre finished, with a bit of a surprised 'matter of fact' look on my face. That usually quietens them down quick smart when they realise theyve just been a complete moron.
Let them rant, acknowledge they are upset and what has happened (clarify anything you're unsure of) let them know what you are going to do to solve the problem, (if anything can be done) what THEY have to do, and the time frame you expect a result in/will let them know more...
If they get rude I just say "Being rude isn't going to help, I do a better job with encouragement rather than being sworn at'
grab the baton from the flight deck, hit them over the head and tell them not to do 'it' again
LOL sounds an excellent idea... I once had a clash ( i was only flying 3 weeks) w/ a boisterous pseudo bourgeois Parisian couple who I believe flew that day to make me and my colleagues live hell onboard. I was at the front at the cabin w/ the Senior doing the boarding & greetings pax and stuff..They arrived, I greeted them, no reply...( sweet commencement)..Anyway, it was early in the morning, and i assume people tend to be slightly sleepy...Fair enough... Well, they rushed to the first row and demanded w/ a touch of condescendence to sit in 1E & 1 F...I told them that they could sit there if they wished ( we don't have allocated seats anyway) nonetheless, at the same time, I informed them that the seats were restricted and that they had to put all their belongings in the overhead compartment.( Of course I insisted on the fact that purses too had to be stowed in the lockers)...They said " Like we don't know that" ... charming,eh ? Anyway, I assisted the man in stowing his numerous pieces of heavy luggage ( the check-in staff just dind't do their job of baggage filtering...they let people board sometimes w/ a zillion pieces of luggage or oversized baggage... ) and when it came to ask the lady if she could hand me her bag, she literally shouted at me and said :" This is not a bag, it's a Louis Vuiton"... I told her that if she truly wanted to keep it, she could always move to another row...She looked hot and bothered and finally told me that she would stow it herself...Fine... 15 minutes later, the boarding was almost completed and her Louis Vuitton Bag was still on her laps !! she didn't do what she told she would do. What a surprise !!! Ok, so w/ all my charm and courtesy, i gently asked again if she could give me her bag so that i could stow it... She said she was going to do it herself, that she just needed to take a few things out of it... Right, the wrinkled wench was basically making fun of me..I turned to the Senior, told her everything and asked her if she could deal w/ the grandma...She went to see Madame and w/ a very severe look and tone, demanded the bag...Madame flipped out, insulted the Senior of Nazi harasser, shouting like a fury at us and asking us to stop tormenting her because she basically had the power to cancel the flight if she wanted to...whatever Madame was also a pilot in a raving parallel universe...Her dandruff-haired companion stowed the bag and we finally were able to do the safety demo...Ok, take-off went fine, the flight cruise too...and then " Cabin crew, prepare the cabin for arrival"...Landing announcement ( ladies & gentlemen, we'll shortly be landing in...blah blah" please put your SEATBACK UPRIGHT, armrests down & blah bla" ) Guess what ?? The lady's seatback was completely down and of course while doing my cabin secure check, i asked her husband to wake his wife up so that she could put her seatback upright..He just pressed the seat button, the seat went upright and she immediately woke up..I kindly told her that we were about to land and that she should put her seatback upright...She looked at me straight in the eyes with a smile playing on her lips and she simultaneously pressed the button to put her seatback down..I tried to explain her that the procedure was that it had to be upright because in the event of an evacuation, her seatback was literally blocking people behind to evacuate... She replied " I don't give a **** to what you're saying, just give me a break"... I said, OK, enough is enough...It is an obligation for you to comply with the safety and securety rules of this company and if you don't, you're just in an illegal situation that might lead us to call the Police at arrival....She laughed out loud... I went to the back of the aircraft, ask for a colleague to go see her and persuade her to abide by the rules...From a distance, i was observing the scene, my colleague was talking to her..She forced the passenger to put the seatback upright and then the lady pressed the button to put it down again and so on and so forth...That was quite comical retrospectively...Anyway, after minutes of vain discussions, my colleague pressed the call bell to switch on the blue light and made a PA announcement, it was something like : " Ladies and Gentlemen your attention please, As Passenger sitting on seat 1F refuses to put her seatback upright and comply with the safety procedures of this aircraft, we are unable to land for the time being. " People were rumbling and screaming " put your seatback upright" ... the lady felt so embarassed that she did put it upright...
I think the main mistake that day was made by the Senior cabin crew...When the passenger insulted her, she should've had offloaded her w/ the captain's agreement..It is unacceptable to have passengers that don't comply with the rules...It is for the sake of their OWN safety ater all. I think the Low cost culture and companies have made it possible for people to be careless... Flying is like taking the bus or the tube. It's cheap, cabin crew are not credible or don't look professional wearing orange or cheesy costumes.. And of course, there's always gonna be bastards flying too...Voilà, that was my little contribution.
Last edited by swashbuckler; 10th Jun 2006 at 12:03.
Swashbuckler,,,Nice story but I would not say that your SCCM was at fault for not offloading her simply because she was slightly "insulting". Theres a difference between being insulting and being down right abusive. If we were to offload every passenger who looked at us wierd we would have no passengers flying. As for the tacky PA...Well there are more professional tactics that could have been used before resorting to public humiliation but I aint going into that.
I'd agree with the LAST method. Sounds like wise words.
Instead of the A i have an E with is Empathise.
Acknowleding a complaint is all very good but a customer wants you to undersand it for their point of view, not sympathising and saying sorry...but empathising showing you know how they feel.
In a former life I was a car salesman and believe me we got plenty of unset peeps coming in with shoddy workmanship problems.
In training we were told to say "Yes sir/madame, I understand the way you the way you feel. If I was in your situation I'd feel the same way too."
Works ike a charm.
Shows your human and not just a representative of the "Evil Airline" that only wants your money, and that shouting and ranting is a nice thing to do to someone who when it comes down to it is just like you.
After that you need to get copliance with your customer if it's a YOU NEED TO DO THIS FOR SAFETY REASONS issue.
So they already realise your a human and not a robot so your halfway there. Next explain to them that if they don't do whatever they are not doing then if a man/woman around them were a CAA inspector (entirely possible) and you allowed them not to obey your rules, then you would be in serious trouble and probably loose your job/licence to fly/etc etc. And of course you have a mortgage to pay, etc etc etc...."and you wouldn't want that to happen would you sir/madame? (shake your head as you say this)" They follow your lead and say "No" (because as everyone is listening to this conversation they won't want to seem heartless).
BANG you have compliance. Sounds long winded but with a bit of practice and some voice tones and body language there's no reason why you shoudn't have most customers eating out of the palm of your hand.