Whatever happened to the saying “the customer is always right”?

Whenever we hear the word “service”, the first thing that almost always comes to mind is the act of doing something for someone. While this may be true, there are also such things as good service and bad service, each of which is distinguished from the other by the way it has been performed. Good service, we have been taught in the course of my studies last year as legal secretary, is when the client is left with at least a feeling of contentment if not something more.

Extending good service, IMHO, is something that should be taught not just to aspiring legal secretaries, but to anyone being considered for employment in jobs requiring contact with other people (e.g. receptionists, restaurant fronts-of-house, and flight stewards). It is, after all, beneficial to the company in the long run: a happy customer is one that comes back and sends recommendations to other potential customers; a disgruntled one, on the other hand, might discourage new ones. I should know– I happen to be among the latter. Almost ten years ago, on my very first trip alone outside of my home country, I had problems with switching my mobile phone (a very worn out Bosch) off. Instead of assisting me, the attending stewardess kept on nagging me (even to the point of yelling) to switch the phone off. I eventually got the thing switched off by yanking the battery off its socket, unfortunately damaging the phone in the process and thus making the purchase of a new one a necessity. I must point out at this point that at the time, I was only a student on a stipend and so to me, the new phone cost a fortune! Anyway, the airline carrier was Lufthansa, and while I have neither filed a complaint nor discouraged others from choosing to fly Lufthansa, I have also never flown with the airline since then and couldn’t help feeling more than a bit skeptical everytime its name comes up in the list of suggested airlines when the hubby and I are planning vacation trips. Though I am only one, just think: what if there are other discontented customers like me who go even further as to discourage others?

Now I’m bringing up this whole history because of a similar incident this morning on my way to Nice with the hubby. This time around it didn’t involve the stewardess, but the receptionist at the Norwegian airlines check-in/baggage drop counter in Værnes airport. Perhaps it was partly our fault that we were too busy to see the sign which said “baggage drop only”, but then a properly trained receptionist would have POLITELY directed us to the nearby self-service check-in machines and instructed us how to use it (not that we needed to anyway). Instead, she very rudely shooed us off. The hubby was very unimpressed, to say the very least, and had no qualms showing it. I, on the other hand, am considering whether I should file a complaint, either to the airline or the airport managers or both. I feel they need to be reminded their success is still largely dependent on the satisfaction of their customers, and that they should remember:

Customers like to feel they are being well taken care of, instead of just being shoved forward like some unwanted burden.

Also, while it may not always be true that the customer is always right (in my opinion, at least), he’d still appreciate it immensely if this were pointed out to him politely and not in a way that makes him feel very small.

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