Full admission, this is a love letter to WestJet, for which I have received zero compensation. For the uninitiated, WestJet is one of Canada’s two major airlines.
Dear WestJet –
As a tourism professional and customer service trainer for BC’s WorldHost program, I speak frequently about “touchpoints” and how these are critical for creating “remarkable service”. Here are a few of the small ways your team impressed me during our recent vacation to Manitoba:
1. Help at check-in! At both airports WestJetters were available to help us at the kiosk, figure out what to do with our carseats, and get us off to security in time. At no point did anyone make us feel stupid – they said encouraging things like “no problem, this is a little confusing” and “don’t worry, you’ve got time.”
2. Warm smiles and “thank-you”s throughout. On the way back our flight was delayed and each WestJetter we encountered thanked us for our patience. This includes the staff at the gate doing check ins, the crew members disembarking, and the crew that welcomed us aboard.
3. Constant updates. While our flight was delayed (by 20 minutes) we received multiple verbal updates on the situation. We were thanked for our help in boarding quickly. At one point a flight attendant noticed something on the wing and one of the pilots came back to check it out. There was an announcement before, during, and after this check, making us feel safe and valued.
4. A glass of water with our pre-ordered meals. When our meals were delivered the attendant brought us each a glass of water, explaining that beverage service would start later. This cost the airline next to nothing but made a huge impression with me. The attendant took a moment and thought “I bet this family would enjoy a drink with their meals, and this is what I can do to help.” It was at this point I turned to my spouse and said “only on WestJet!” Yes, I ‘remarked’ about the service I received. Remarkable service!
5. The “sandwich incident”. Once in the air, the couple ahead of us ordered two ham sandwiches during beverage service. They were extremely (!) upset to find out that there was only one left. The attendants were gracious, apologized, and made comparable menu suggestions. They gently explained that pre-ordering is the best way to guarantee an item is on board as different flights have different capacities. And then, minutes later, an attendant appeared with a ham sandwich (a customer up front had changed their mind). The previously irate customers enjoyed their free sandwich and commented to each other (remarked, even) about the great service on board.
Now these are all little things. Of course the big things were handled – safety, timeliness (even with the delay all connections were made), our baggage arrived as promised. This is a great departure from my experience with other major airlines, where I’ve experienced:
- Getting stranded in a stopover city with a baby and having to negotiate for a hotel stay and meal vouchers
- Getting stranded in a departure city while four months pregnant with no updates, no accommodations, and no help
- Waiting over an hour for a carseat, not being able to locate help, and finally receiving said help after 90 minutes
Sadly the above list could go on and on. There’s no question that airline travel is a tricky business, with razor-thin margins and unpredictable conditions. WestJet is getting it right by making sure that everything, especially the little things, are handled well.