Tuesday, May 31, 2011

...Flying Commercial

For someone that hates flying, I travel too much. I have more airline apps than angry birds on my phone!  It’s not that I hate planes, I just hate falling unnecessarily, and that’s why I hate roller coasters too.
So to keep my mind distracted from the bumpier winds, besides praying, I decided to study airlines and what they could teach us at work.

The Ten Things I Learned...Flying Commercial

1. Don’t blame it on the rain.
Take accountability and responsibility over your business, including those uncontrollable factors (like rain). People aren’t interested on where it’s raining; they just want to know how you’re getting them home. In the office, don’t lose sight of the solutions by spending too much time on the excuses.

2. Be uplifting when you speak.  
Find different ways to say the same thing over and over; preferably more uplifting and engaging ways. The attendants that have fun making announcements are the ones who draw in everyone’s attention, lightening the mood of what’s known to be the world’s most dissatisfied consumer. For us, it means managing difficult meetings in a jovial way to turn them into an engaging and inspiring discussion.  

3. Behave responsibly
I confess I’m more on the annoying side, but when you’re told to turn off electronics before takeoff, please turn them off…and put your seat and tray in the upright position. I’m sure nobody understands why, but in general, behaving responsibly makes things work so much more smoothly.   

4. Don’t be cheap
People have become accustomed to delighting perks. Warm chocolate chip cookies are better than peanuts. And peanuts are better than nothing. In the airline industry, I’m guessing snack costs are, well, literally, peanuts, and some are taking them away! At work, offer those small rewards, like cookies on a plane, that make everyone happier and more loyal. Done right, people might change destinations to get on your flight.

5. Give everyone space
People are more productive when they have their personal space, whether it’s more leg room on a plane, their fair-share of the arm rest, or computer privacy screens protecting against neighbor intrusion. In a working environment, it might be an appropriate physical space, but it’s also empowering employee freedom to excel.

6. Make things easier for people.
It’s solving problems for others without creating a problem for yourself. It might be giving direction or advice, sharing a template that’s worked for you, or simply lending an ear. In the airline industry, it’s an app that lets me skip check-in lines with a boarding pass on my phone.

7. Don’t leave people on hold.
Generally, people who call you or write to you, want to hear back from you, with some exceptions. Take a minute to reply. There are people who need to get on with their lives and you’ve got them on hold. “Twenty-eight minutes to the next available representative” is more time than it takes to book my flight elsewhere.  

8. Don’t fall behind on amenities
It’s the little things that might mean a lot; the challenge is knowing what they are for each individual - affordable daycare, more holidays, education options, or more. If a chicken-sandwich chain can have free internet, why wouldn’t airlines when I’ve paid about 100 times the combo price?

9. Have a back up plan
Ironically, planning for the unexpected takes practice. You’ve learned by now return flights get cancelled, but do you ever pack a second pair of anything? Often times, things don’t go the way you planned in the business world, so outsmart the odds and prepare for it.

10. Keep them coming back - even when they don’t want to.
Preferably be great on everything you do because it’s the honest & right thing. But if you have an ok product, at least reward me for the pain. I’m referring to mileage plans. There’s an American airline that I, unfortunately, fly because I’m so close to a free trip. However, once I take that trip, I’ll seriously re-consider them.

On a personal note, I learned not long ago that pilots have one of the most stressful jobs in the world. I just want to take a minute to thank them for bringing me home safely every time.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Ricardo. For what its worth I hate rollercoasters too! Paul Wright