Gatwick Gets it Right: A CX Story

November 19, 20185min

As a professional working in the Customer Experience field, measuring customer satisfaction and exploring the link between employee satisfaction and the satisfaction of customers, I come across many examples of times when companies get things completely wrong.

Some companies go to extraordinary lengths to plan the perfect customer journey, maximising moments of truth and ensuring the customer has to put in the minimum of effort to get what they want, but sometimes it isn’t about all that planning and preparation – sometimes it comes down to an individual employee with a great attitude who just blows you away with their service.

I was recently travelling from London to Dublin – two adults and two girls (one aged 16, Laura, and one aged 12, Clara). We were going for a long weekend, but Laura had only been able to travel at the last minute. So, there we were in the departures lounge, three tickets for Aer Lingus and one ticket for Ryanair (for Laura) – the only flight we had been able to book at short notice.

Both flights were due to take off at 21:35 with gates closing at 21:15 and the departures board showed the gate numbers would come up at 20:35.

All good, you would think. But no, at 20:35 exactly the Aer Lingus flight departure gate number came up and nearby signs indicated it was a 10-minute walk away. Nothing from Ryanair, except the time for the gate number to appear moved back by five minutes. Then it went back another five minutes, then 10 minutes and another 10 minutes!

Panic starting to set in. We couldn’t risk leaving Laura behind as she speaks little English. What to do? The time was rapidly approaching that the rest of the party would have to set off for the Aer Lingus gate or miss our flight! I was beginning to think I would be staying behind, to look after Laura.

In desperation I looked around and saw in the corner an Airport Information Desk. As we approached the desk a very cheerful lady behind the counter addressed us.

“Hi, my name is Sam” she said. “What can I do to help you?”

We explained the situation and without hesitation Sam offered to have Laura come behind the counter and sit next to her. She called Ryanair dispatch and ascertained there was a small delay, but that the gate number would be up shortly. She offered to ensure that when the gate number was announced, she would point Laura in the right direction for the right gate.

Sam took my phone number in case there was any problem with the Ryanair flight and then, leaving Laura with Sam, the remaining three of us left at a run to catch the Aer Lingus flight. We arrived at the gate just in time and my phone rang. It’s Sam.

“Oh I thought you’d like to know the Ryanair flight is now showing its departure gate. And I am due a break, so I am going to walk Laura down there to make sure she gets on the flight safely!”

What an Angel and what fantastic customer service! Laura made her flight and we all met up in Dublin Airport later that evening. Needless to say, I made a point of tweeting about Sam’s fantastic assistance. And next time, we are all going on the same flight together!

So great experiences sometimes just come down to having great people working in your organisation, who want to do a great job and for whom great service is second nature.


David Payne

David Payne

David Payne is Head of Client Development at Bright UK Ltd. He has over 30 years of experience working in Customer Management and contact centres, in both operational and strategic roles for blue chip companies and leading outsourcers within the contact centre industry.




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