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Behave Like a Human, Reap the Rewards – a Tale From the Other Side of the Phone Call

Hi all. For the last ten years I have been in the top tier of my favourite airline’s frequent flier programme. As such, I daresay the airline staff have been told that they must be nice to the Shiny Customers. Unfortunately, I also daresay the Shiny Customers are not required to reciprocate. I have always made a point of being calm and polite (even if my two-hour journey has turned into a fifteen-hour slog due to bad weather), even friendly and joking – after all, they are trying to help me and I figure there’s a good chance that someone has been unpleasant to them at some recent point. I would like now to share a recent interaction with an employee in the airline’s call centre that deals with the Shiny Ones; a man whom I shall call Bill – for that was his name….

Bill: [standard greeting]

Me: “G’day Bill [no further greeting, as I am socially very inept (*being honest here*)], can I give you a booking reference please?”

Bill: “Certainly sir”
[I read out the booking reference, but transpose two of the letters. It doesn’t come up. I get flustered, Bill remains totally courteous and professional. Get that situation sorted after about thirty seconds]

Bill: “What can I do for you today?”

Me: “I would like to change the booking for my wife and I. We want to take an earlier flight on our outbound flight. I tried to make the change on the website, but it wanted me to rebook the return flight as well and charge a higher fare for that flight as well [with this airline, if you change a flight, you have to move up a fare class, *i.e* if you book the lowest-level economy fare and change the booking, you have to book a fare in the next-highest level of economy class].

Bill: “I can take care of that sir”.

Me: “Bill, do I detect a [NorthernEnglishCity] accent?”

Bill: “You do! People usually think that I am from [OtherNorthernEnglishCity], but that’s because I lived for years in [ThirdNorthernEnglishCity]. That’s why I support [PremierLeagueFootballTeam] instead of [OtherPremierLeagueFootballTeam]”.

Me: “Okay, right. What do you think about this new Football Super League with Juventus, Barcelona, [OtherPremierLeagueFootballTeam] and the rest?”

Bill: “I am all for it. You can see the top teams play each other more often. Should be good. To be honest, I don’t know much about it though.”

Me: “Well, my understanding is that there won’t be any promotions or relegations. It will always be the same teams.”

Bill: “Oh, that’s not right, you’ve got to have the chance of getting promoted to the higher level. Anyway, I have made the changes for you, that will be umpty-um dollars [less than the cost that changing the outbound flight should have been; and no need to have to pay to ‘change’ the return flight either].

Me: “Awesome Bill, thanks very much!”

And with that, we went our separate ways, unlikely to ever interact again.

Just be nice – it even saves you energy. I rang with the hope of not having to pay extra money to return on the exact same flight, but Bill saved about eighty dollars on the booking for the outbound flight as well. Thanks Bill, you saved me two hundred dollars.

Be Nice

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