Saturday, June 27, 2015

Win-win solutions for overbooked flights

Airlines, similar to hotels, sometimes overbook their flights. Usually there is a percentage rate of clients who do not show up. But every rule has an exception.

Could be an unpleasant scenario- but I loved how Lufthansa deals with it. In a short period of time I heard two such stories from friends.

Case 1.
  • The flight NewYork - Frankfurt is very popular, most of the passengers being on business trips.
  • The business class was overbooked. 
  • The staff asked if somebody would like to move to the economy class

Our friend accepted, and enjoyed the business-class service a few rows in the back in the sweet expectation of a cash reimbursment upon arrival. 

Case 2.
  • A local flight: Dusseldorf- Munich is a very popular one and occurs several times per day.
  • The flight is overbooked. 
  • The staff asked if somebody would like to wait two hours till the next flight 

Our friends flying on holidays heard an announcement and agreed to spend the time in the business class lounge, dreaming how they could spend the reimbursement Lufthansa offered to book their next vacations.

Overbooking is rather an exception-but we remember most the exceptional situations, especially if the company deals so nicely with them. Clients will always be glad to help if the compensation is higher than the inconvenience.

I don't remember hearing people more excited about an airline, than in these circumstances. Both friends told us their stories with such a great enthusiasm, that made me sure- we are not the only ones who will hear it. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Is efficiency more important than friendly service?

Weihenstephan, Freising
It is already a tradition to go with the guests visiting us in Freising to the  restaurant of the oldest brewery in the world . The place has a special flavour. Very spacious, traditional and positively loud with happy people around. And usually the guests find the WeiƟbier very tasty ;)

Recently we have been there with our friends from Aachen. The menus were brought  immediately, and five minutes later appeared the waiter eager to write our order.

"- They are not very friendly here." came an automatic comment as the lady left

Actually, there was no sign of conflict or ignorance - the waiter was polite, focused but quite in a hurry.

"- Right, but very efficient!"

Indeed, it is expected here that you surely know what you want, and want to get it quickly.
It is amazing to follow the speed of the waiters running around and serving a huge number of clients.  How they achieve it?  -No redundant movements, words, jokes etc. Efficiency comes first.

I never though that I would say this, but this type of "imperfect" service fits well in this place :) It is not the best restaurant to ask for dish recommendations or expect some gourmet food, but the traditional choice "Sausage and beer" will always be the right one.

Efficiency comes at the price of friendliness, which is considered time-consuming luxury. A strange business model, but the business is successful. Surprising? Yes!

Maybe because the clients know "the rules of the game". They know what they come for: tasty local food, authentic atmosphere, picturesque view. As soon as these requirement are met, clients are happy and ready to return. We like as well to play this game from time to time. And you?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"I will make an exception for you"

Same words may evoke different feelings. It all depends on the tone of voice and the expression they are pronounced with.  

Example: To assure a standard level of service and higher efficiency companies set rules and procedures. But if a situation does not fit the standard case, the human factor comes in, and we may hear: "I will make an exception for you"

These words can have very different meanings: 
Either you demonstrate that it is a huge effort for you, but unfortunately you feel uncomfortable to refuse the customers request or you show your sympathy - sometimes the circumstances are higher than the standard scenarios- and you sincerely want to be helpful.

The choice is yours! Choose your tone, choose your expression, choose your smile.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lost and Found

Case A: In January my parents were on vacations in Czech Republic (Marianske Lazne), and one of the days made a city trip to Prague. It was beautiful and sunny. Only few days later, on the way to Moldova, my mom realised that she lost her sunglasses, and most probably forgot them in the tour-bus.

It took two phone calls to realise that the glasses are indeed in the tourist company and two more to figure out that the company is not able to send them by post to me in Germany, because it costs money. Even though I suggested making a bank transfer to pay the service, the answer was No, because the company did not have such a product category as post deliveries in they offer. ...

Case B: Last week we were to our first mini-holidays with the baby in Obersdorf, Germany. We came back on Friday and realised that we forgot the bottle warmer for the baby food in the hotel. Don't ask me how that happened- it is a pretty big and visible machine :) As it is a simple/cheap device but necessary everyday, we bought a new one the same day. I just started wondering on Tuesday, why we did not get any call from the hotel, when somebody rang the door bell and I saw the post officer holding a box from the hotel :) Thank you!

Sometimes we do not need multiple steps. We like so much sending e-mails and discussing things. But sometimes we need to Just Do It! The action will speak for itself! The parcel was the best way to show us that the hotel cares about its clients. Fast, modest and competent!

And regarding the tourist company- It is worth being careful about your cost, but maybe you are saving on the wrong thing?

Small things make a big difference!