Planes, Hurricanes, Anxiety Attacks, and Customer Service

Earlier today I was on a flight to  the HR Florida State Conference and Expo and I thought I was going to die. There was a lot of turbulence because of

Hurricane Irene boot stomping across the northeast United States

. The children a few rows back from me were having a great time. They were giddy with excitement as the plane shook and dipped. I felt vulnerable, much like Wile E. Coyote in that moment after running off the cliff but before he begins to fall to the desert floor. Was the turbulence unusual? The rational part of my being kept saying no, but the lizard portion of my brain wouldn’t listen. All I could think about was that I’m in a metal cylinder 20,000 feet up in the air without any visible means of support. My chest was hurting and I had to force myself to take slow, deep breaths. After a while I began to calm down and distracted myself with other things. As I left the plane I said a silent thank you to everyone who properly secured every nut, bolt, and widget on Flight 1785 from New York.

People often do good work that doesn’t get recognized. Much like oxygen, fresh water, and money, we don’t think about what’s essential until forced to, oftentimes in moments of panic similar to the one I just experienced. As consumers, we’re often guilty of expecting that those that serve us should always do so flawlessly, regardless of their personal situations, and appreciation isn’t necessary. Yes, if customer service is your job, then do it and do it well. This sentiment applies equally to the accountant, the baker, and the CEO. We should be mindful, however, that there’s a person behind the role. For example, I know for a fact that many of those at the airport won’t be going home tonight. Yet I’m getting to my destination safely and without any disruption of expectations between those that were working to get me here and myself.

So as I move through the next few days – from airport to hotel to conference and back – I want to acknowledge those that are working to give me a quality experience while dealing with hurricanes, earthquakes, and customers, myself included, that don’t always see you as people. I apologize if I’ve made you invisible. You deserve better, and I will strive to acknowledge your contributions.

Link to original post

Leave a Reply