Having a Bad Day?


The other day I boarded a flight back toSt. Louis.  I recognized the flight attendant from a previous flight.  I remembered how nice she was.  However, today she must have been having a very bad day.  She not only didn’t acknowledge me as I boarded the plane, she almost knocked me over trying to get by.  I watched her for a few minutes and she was downright nasty to most everyone walking on board.  I realize that, according the airlines, the flight attendants are there primarily for our safety, but I think they are also expected to be nice to the passengers.


She happened to be standing near my seat, so I tried to make some friendly conversation with her.  She was downright rude, so I asked her, “Are you having a bad day?”  Wow did I get an earful.  She downloaded how hard the day had been with flight delay, due to a mechanical problem.  She complained that because of the delay she would be three hours late to something she had to do that evening.  I told her, “We are all going to be late, and isn’t it better that they found the mechanical problem down here on the ground instead of up in the air?” 


For some reason that comment made sense to her, and she actually chuckled.  She started to relax a little.  After a bit more conversation she acknowledged that she hadn’t been very nice to everyone and actually apologized.  She said that everyone is entitled to a bad day.   I didn’t disagree with her, but I told her that a bad day shouldn’t interfere with her job.  She asked me how it wouldn’t interfere. 


The answer was simple.  Some companies have adopted the idea that when a customer is in front of them, they are “on stage” – like a theatrical performance.  Disney may have been the first to do this.  Once we are in front of the audience – make that the customer – we should put on the best performance possible.  We want to “wow” them.  We want a standing ovation, which isn’t about clapping, but instead comes in the form of complements, referrals and repeat business.


So, no matter how bad your day is, remember that when you are working with a customer, you are on stage.  Be the best you can be.  Make a conscious effort to be even better than the day before.  This is what the superstars do.



Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com  Web: www.hyken.com. For information on customer service training, go to www.TheCustomerFocus.com.


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