One thing a few minutes in an airport always teaches me: Customers are jerks.
I mean seriously! All of us! We bitch and moan and complain and act like somehow the company (in this case the airline we are flying) is somehow failing us in ways that our favorite brand never would. And guess what. We self propagate our own bad customer experience. We are surly, which makes the brand's staff surly, which in turn leads to irritated looks, which then fuels our anger and convinces us the brand doesn't care.
The reason I bring all this up is because as marketers and customer service personnel and representatives of our brands, we need to understand this dynamic. We can be our best and still people bring their bad attitudes and prejudices. Our challenge is to train our staff to push past this and, as Erica Mayer likes to say, puke a rainbow.
Each time a customer brings his or her own bad customer service experience in tow, we need to see the opportunity to deliver a positive brand impression. After all, this is our best chance to gain a loyalist. Because as we know, a customer with a problem solved is always a better customer than a customer who already loves us.
Easier said than done, I realize. But good food for thought from 20,000 feet.