In the Trenches: Why We Do This
There’s no question that running a small business, especially a customer-service business, can wear you down. People aren’t always easy to deal with, even when we’re successful at helping them. Because of that, sometimes it can be hard to get motivated. Fortunately, some clients are incredibly appreciative and friendly, and working with them helps to keep us focused.
Take last week, for example. You would think that getting an urgent assistance call at 3 a.m. on a Sunday would not be the start of an enjoyable interaction, but in this case, it was. The client was on the East Coast and scheduled to connect to a smaller city in the Midwest via Chicago on United. She had been delayed by United for two days due to a combination of bad weather and other issues, and now her morning flight was on a crew delay that was going to cause her to miss her connection yet again. What a mess!
We immediately — or, well, as quickly as possible at 3 o’clock in the morning — jumped into action and found that there was a flight to her destination on American out of Chicago that afternoon. We switched her flight, and she was on her way. Or so we thought.
When the client arrived in Chicago, the gate agents told her that, despite her confirmed reservation, the flight was too full (probably oversold), so they put her on standby. We were livid, so you can imagine how she must have felt. After days of trying to reach her destination, she was exhausted and, of course, confused by what the airlines were doing when they just deleted her confirmed reservation without good reason. She did not make it onto the afternoon flight as a standby passenger, but we luckily found a seat for her on a later one. She finally arrived around the time the sun went down.
The joy in her voice spoke volumes. She was incredibly appreciative of our work. We knew that without our help (or somebody else’s), she may have been stuck in Chicago overnight. We love any success story, but it’s nice to be able to make someone so happy they’re on the verge of tears every so often. It reminds us why we do what we do.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.