November 19, 2004
I was taking a 6:00 AM flight back to Denver yesterday morning from New York on United. If youve been traveling Im sure youve noticed the tension in the air when talking to anyone from United with the uncertainty surrounding the future of the company. Hence, I was wonderfully surprised this morning when I approached the ticket counter in a sleepy stupor to try to get on the flight on a standby basis. The ticket agent looked at me and said how about an upgrade. She looked at my account for certificates and found none. I was resigned to the fact that I would take my place in coach. The ticket agent looked at me with a smile and said, Im not supposed to do this, but Im feeling bold today. Enjoy your flight! When I looked at my ticket I noticed that she had in fact upgraded me to first class. It was her human intervention, against the rules of the bureaucracy that made my day! I felt special.
The interaction made me think about the importance of being human in the interactions with your customers and clients. How do you make them feel special? What kind of humanity can we as companies bring to our interactions?
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.