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Customer Service at 39,000 Feet

Right now, I'm sitting on a plane at 39,000 feet and I'm thinking about customer service.

I'm in the row right behind first class. There is a net curtain separating me from the free champagne, food that doesn't come in a box and warm towels to wash my hands. Basically I'm with the huddled masses back here in economy class, rather than first class literally three feet ahead of me. (I'm close enough to kick the person in first class in front of me if I wanted to. Obviously I didn't--I'm not a savage for Pete's sake!)

It got me wondering, what is it about first class that people are willing to pay approximately 50% more? I mean honestly, we're ALL in a flying box, little better than a Greyhound Bus, squished in with other people, and we're not any of us comfortable, whether we're in first class or stuck between two sweaty dudes in the back of the plane. 

The true difference I believe is the service (plus the first on, first off thing, and a little more legroom). Don’t get me wrong, our attendants were great. They just weren’t first class great. Those attendants in the first class were on it! They were constantly checking in, constantly giving service over and above. Can I get you a drink? Would you like a blanket? How can I help you? I have to admit I was a smidge jealous of the amazing service.

Take a moment to stop and think in our daily work are we giving first class service or are we giving economy class service? What can we do to give our residents and our clients first class service?

Simple things really...

Remembering that you're there to help them. To help them enjoy their home. Their home, people. I'm not talking about the 5 square feet of turf that they paid money to get from point A to point B. I'm talking about their haven, their castle. Their sanctuary!

Greeting everyone with a smile. Just smile, and say hi. Be joyful. I'm terrible at remembering names, and am so envious of those people who can actually remember who they're talking to. But if you're one of those amazing super heroes, greet people by name AND say hi and smile.

Are you following the golden rule: treat others as you'd like to be treated? Are you dealing with your residents as you'd like to be treated or just another day on the job? Are you in first class or economy class when you’re interacting with your residents?

Really be honest with yourself and reflect on how your days go. What opportunities do you have to up your game and make your residents feel like they're in first class? It will help you close that back door of residents leaving, it will help you with reviews, and help make your job easier. Happy residents are so much more fun, right?

Thank you for flying the friendly skies!

Ms. Sylla has over 17 years of marketing experience in multifamily, commercial and residential real estate.
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  • Great blog, Shellie, and I think this first class mentality becomes even more important after several years of rent increases. We can chalk up the rent increases to "market forces" all we want, but from the perspective of our residents, their home just became an even bigger part of their yearly budget, and our service needs to match that increase!

  • Vicki Sharp

    This is an awesome post, and is one I will be sharing with my team today. I think it's a great comparison to our industry, and truly believe most of us are on "auto pilot" when it comes to customer service. I am ready to challenge my teams to fly high with their customer service efforts! Great job Shellie!