The other day I was returning from holiday on a BMI flight from Murcia to Birmingham. I think these days we all travel by air so much it’s rather like catching a bus: we just sort of go through the motions without thinking too much about the process.
One area where this is very true is in what we as passengers expect from the cabin crew: look at your boarding pass, tell you where your seat is, close the doors (I’m personally very keen on this one), do all the safety stuff and then sort out the refreshments. Well the bunch on this flight were a bit different.
As we boarded the plane the steward, whose name was Alan, looked at our boarding card and said “the seat next to you is free so you can spread out a bit if you want”. Fair enough, we were on row 1 so this was probably easy for him except that he also told people sitting on row 23 that the three seats behind were empty and they could use them as well. Very impressive!
They also brought a little humour to the proceedings “this is a no smoking flight and we have smoke detectors fitted in the washrooms (a little Americanism creeping in there) it is also a no complaining and no whinging flight; we don’t need detectors for that we can pick it up from 50 metres”. Just one of the many deviations from the norm that made us smile.
They also teased each other mercilessly, but in a way that betrayed the mutual respect they had for each other but was still very entertaining.
When the plane landed and after more amusing one-liners by Lee, the head guy, they received a round of applause which would have been a standing ovation but for the fact the seat belt lights were still on. I have never witnessed this before.
So what does this tell us?
- Personality can be a powerful differentiator.
- Taking time to understand things that will positively affect your clients (like knowing where the empty seats were) and making sure that you apply them also sets you apart.
- Working with a team of like minded people who you respect and get on well with can create a powerful differentiator.
- Efficient but dull not only fails to stand out but rarely elicits any kind of positive response.
- Their approach took no more time and no more money than the more traditional cabin crew style.
I believe that whatever you do it is possible to add in some ‘personality-plus’ and create a kinder and more enjoyable client experience – as do that cabin crew from BMI apparently!
[tweetmeme source=”mike_ames_flair” only_single=false]