Brendan Behan was well aware of the impact of first
On arrival in Canada he was asked by a Custom Official
as to what his purpose for visiting the country was.
‘To drink Canada dry’ was Behan’s considered and
My first visit to the land of the Maple was considerably
more inauspicious but nonetheless inducted me
greatly in the art of first impressions.
In what was only my second week with a new international
organisation I was privileged to be seated beside Dan Stamp,
the legendary founder and President of Priority Management,
on a three hour flight between Vancouver and Quebec.
Immediately upon being seated, Dan proceeded to press
the internal flight assistance button and summoned a flight
attendant. She was not impressed with our eagerness and
politely informed us that
cabin assistance did not commence
until after take off.
Unperturbed, Dan reassured her that all he and his travelling
companion wanted were two comment cards to provide
feedback on the quality of the flight.
With the sweetest of smiles – you know the one that is a cross between sympathy and ‘stop you’re messing now’ – she told us that ‘Comment Cards are only ever distributed prior to the flights final descent’.
With an equally dashing smile Dan insisted on getting the cards now.
To say his request caused a modicum of consternation was an
understatement. As she reluctantly retreated to to get the forms
she was surrounded by a gaggle of other flight attendants who
were now giving us the proverbial ‘daggers’.
Upon getting the forms Dan told me to copy closely the sentiment
of his words. Having ticked every superlative rating for ‘Quality,
Service, Safety and Comfort’ he proceeded to write in qualitative
detail about the excellence of the flight.
‘I travel the world on business and the level of customer service
provided on Air Lines is a source of great passion to me. Frequently
I’m disappointed. I must say the quality of service on this flight
stands out as one of the best I’ve ever experienced’. He went on to
cite a number of specific examples about the food, the ambience,
and the comfort. Finally, he wrote three glowing lines about our
attendant and how impressed he was with her’
Just as the pilot switched on the ‘fasten your seat belts sign’ Dan
once again pressed the ‘bing bong’ switch. Two completed comment
cards were presented to our Attendant.
Fifteen minutes after take off, Dan and I were invited to upgrade
to First Class, compliments of the crew.
The lesson from this blog is not to provide insincere feedback
in order to blag upgrades although that’s a bonus. It is to make us aware of the power of positive expectation. Tell people in advance that you expect the best of them and watch their performance soar.
Next time you visit your accountant, dentist, doctor ……. Tell them
at the outset of the appointment how highly you regard them
and how you expect them to be of wonderful service.
This week, resolve to fly first class everywhere you go.