So here's a story about customer service for you….

I arrive at Belfast International this evening at 18:00 and walk to the front of the Speedy Boarding line.
(Moral – people over 50 will pay for the upgrade)
The check in guy says to me “Evening sir, I need you to know that there is a 90-minute delay on all flights this evening due to problems with French air-traffic control.”
I respond with:
“Can I tell you I was at a funeral on Wednesday and it wasn’t mine.
If all I have to worry about is a flight delay, I’m a lucky man.”

He replies:
“I wish more people could take that view – I’ve been dealing with people hurling abuse at me all day.”
I say:
“Well you are only doing your job mate.”

He checks me on my flight and thanks me for being so reasonable.
The airport is like a cattle market – so I use my Priority Pass card to access the business lounge.
(Moral – people over 50 will become members of a tribe that allows them privileges)
I settle down to use the gift of an unexpected 2 hours to answer all my emails before the weekend, make a few phone calls, catch up with Facebook.
At 20:30, there is a call to the lounge to say that my Bristol flight is cancelled.
Panic, despair – 30 seconds.
Then into solution mode.
Returning to Easyjet check in, I discover a line of 200 people and, at the front, voices raised at the beleaguered check in team.
I also spot my check in bloke sat back at Speedy Boarding.
I walk over to him:
“I know I’m lucky to be alive today but I’m also missing home and my woman – is there anything you can do to help me?”
He responds:
“I shouldn’t be doing this but let me have a look.
There is a 10:10 flight tomorrow morning to Bristol and there are two seats left, would you like one?”
I reply.
“The problem is”, he adds, “if I book you on this flight I cannot get you a complimentary hotel room – you would have to join the back of the queue.”

It takes a heartbeat for me to say
“I don’t need a free hotel room – I need to get home to my woman.”
He looks left and right and then his fingers scrabble over the keyboard.
The phone rings and he answers.
I hear, “he is standing in front of me now.”
And then “thanks” to the person on the line.
“You are on” he announces – and hand writes my boarding details for tomorrow.
I thank him profusely and he thanks me for being so reasonable.
(Moral – if you take a minute to be nice to somebody – it can pay you back a thousand-fold.)
I exit the airport with my reclaimed bags and climb in a cab.
“Where to?”
“The Hilton Templepatrick please.”
I call the hotel from the cab.
“I wonder if you can help me – I’m a Diamond VIP card holder and I’ve just had a cancelled flight – I need B&B for one night only.”
The expected reply…..
“No problem sir, we can have a room ready for you in 10 minutes.”
My room is an upgrade to deluxe at no extra charge.
(Moral – points make prizes and people over 50 will stay loyal to a brand that stays loyal to them – and doesn’t employ idiots)
I’m writing this in the bar, with a large Jameson and the prospect of a good night’s sleep and a strong intention to enjoy a good Irish breakfast.
There are still 200 people at the airport – probably being rude.
They will be flying to Stansted, arriving at midnight and bussed to Bristol for 03:00.
I’m hoping to be home by 14:30 – and still time to enjoy Falmouth and some quality time with Annie before our special weekend guests arrive.
I can’t help thinking that if I hadn’t smiled and appreciated my check in guy – the night would have been very different.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.