I figured a reminder here couldn’t hurt…
This is a tough time for those working in travel
Obviously this is an incredibly challenging time for many people, not just those working in travel. However:
- This blog is about travel
- Those working for airlines and hotels are largely being impacted even more negatively than those in many other industries
I’m sure I’m not alone in absolutely loving the airline and hotel industry. If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good that you feel similarly. It’s heartbreaking to see the industry collapse the way it has.
If it’s tough for me to watch, I can only imagine how tough it is for those working for airlines, hotels, etc. Those employees who are working are facing more stressful conditions than ever before, while many others are being furloughed, and virtually everyone is worried about their job security.
Separate people from policies
I think it’s always worth being nice, even in the best of times. However, now more than ever I think it’s important to recognize that small gestures go a long way. I bring this up for a couple of reasons.
For one, I think it’s important to separate frontline employees from policies. I’ve had readers share all kinds of correspondence with me that they had with airlines and hotels, in particular situations where customers are frustrated by cancellation policies or what not.
While many people are nice and to the point, I also think some people aren’t doing a very good job separating frontline workers from policies.
Imagine working in customer service at an airline or hotel right now — it must suck. They don’t make the customer unfriendly policies, even if they’re denying you a refund in violation of government regulations.
I think it’s valuable to at least acknowledge that. Whether that comes in the form of “I know you don’t make the rules, but…” or simply saying “thanks for working, and please understand my frustration isn’t directed at you.”
Being nice goes a long way
I’ve had to call to cancel a fair bit of travel the past few days, and across the board the airline representatives I spoke with sounded dead inside, for lack of a better way of putting it.
They’re basically just cancelling tickets all day, and are probably dealing with constantly frustrated customers as well. I don’t blame them for not being chipper.
I’ve made a point of trying to express my gratitude at the end of every call.
Usually something like “I know these times are tough, so I just want to say thank you for working, I appreciate your help, and hopefully things get better soon.”
Across the board that acknowledgement has been so well received, and more often than not the response has been something along the lines of “thank you for saying that, I needed it.”
Like I said, a lot of people are in a tough spot right now, so the above doesn’t just apply to the travel industry. However, I think it’s sometimes worth reminding people that a little bit of kindness can go a long way, especially in tough times.
This is particularly true when it comes to travel brands having really frustrating policies, and recognizing that the frontline employees who have to enforce these policies didn’t make the rules.