Authentic Customer Service — added value , Business marketing , Customer Service , lebanon , lebanon marketing , Middle East Airlines , Only in Lebanon — Marketing in Lebanon
Monday, March 24, 2008

Authentic Customer Service

I sat around in Geneva’s airport, after getting some Swiss chocolate and a Euro 2008 souvenir… I still had some time to kill.
I watched the passers by, trying to guess their nationalities; I am still quite bad at this.
Finally, I could board… and as I was climbing the stairs up into the MEA, I saw the cedar on its tail, the one I was boasting on my passport, and I felt I was already home. I was content.
…Until the takeoff, when the hostesses apologized about a failure in the system. The entertainment was not available. I looked beside me, there, was seated, a little girl. I was wondering how her dad was going to keep her busy… I did not want to be in his place. I then put myself in a stranger’s shoes. How awfully would such a lack affect MEA’s reputation… and how would that reflect on Lebanon? Personally I was willing to swallow it, I guess it could have the worst service in the world and still be immune to criticism from my part… but what if I had a foreign friend with me? I would have wanted them to see this airline as it is in my ideal world, PERFECT.
I was disappointed.
Soon the meals arrived, followed by the drinks, soft and alcoholic, then the tea and the coffee… The little girl was being entertained by her father. He was explaining to her how to read her watch, while switching between the French, English and Arabic languages.
The hostesses passed by with a warm smile on their faces to pick up the trays.
The people; that is what I love about Lebanon. The system can be completely down or inefficient… and they still manage their way around it, as if nothing happened.
As I was admiring the view from my window, something odd happened. The co-pilot (or at least that’s who I think it was, guessing from his uniform) was distributing traditional Lebanese pastries, and wishing everyone a happy Easter. The father explained to his daughter that it was a Christian celebration, as he enjoyed the desert.
I turned towards the window, but this time, not to admire the scenery but to hide. Tears had filled my eyes. It is the little unplanned customized offerings that stand for genuine customer service and the pastries were just about enough to compensate and exceed my expectations.

Sometimes, an act of real kindness, that’s all it takes to succeed in business.

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