Monday's post was about the importance of paying enough attention to customers that you talk to them when they're already thinking about your brand. That very day, I had a first-time airline-related customer service situation which highlighted another basic and important service concept: thinking about service delivery in a strategic way from the customer's point of view.

On a Continental Express plane (the jets so small there's only one flight attendant), pre-flight instructions are recorded. This allows the flight attendant to demonstrate the various instructions without having to bounce back and forth between the intercom and the demonstration. Since I actually do try and pay attention, I noticed the flight attendant was mouthing the pre-recorded instructions' words. Given how gregarious she had been on an earlier announcement, I laughed, thinking she had to be a former Southwest employee who was mocking the pre-recorded voice.

When she came by later for the beverage service, I mentioned noticing she was having fun with the recording. She surprised me by saying the reason she mouthed the words was for hearing-impaired passengers. By her reckoning, maybe if they couldn't hear the recording, they might at least be able to read her lips to get the safety instructions.

I've been on a lot of other Continental Express flights (including one the day before) and have never seen this happen. I can only credit the great insight and modification to the standard process to her strategic thinking ability and mentally observing service delivery from the customer's perspective to modify it for a minority audience segment's benefit.

We should all be that perceptive and adept at strategic thinking! -  Mike Brown

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