Can service be "too" friendly?

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by dcpatti, Mar 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    Curious to see what others think here. Over the weekend I did DCA-MCO and back, and the FA working the F cabin on both flights read our names off the manifest (which I like), introduced herself (also I like), and then presented her hand for a handshake. It wasn't he same FA on both flights. I've seen one other FA do this on US (at least that I can recall), and was kind of on the fence about it then. And I still am. While I like the personal touch of using my name, the handshake to me feels a little weird. Maybe because it feels forced or catches one off guard? Not sure. All I know is, I'm not a germ-o-phobe. I think I just find it a little over-familiar.

    What made it even more noticeable is the front desk agent at the MCO Hyatt Regency (the one right in the airport) did the same thing. After checking us in, she stepped out from behind the desk, handed us her card, and shook our hands. I am not a high-roller at Hyatt properties by any means so I think *everyone* gets this treatment, which to me makes it a little less special, more manufactured, and overly familiar.

    Also in the new Renaissance at St Pancras Station, London, the staff was smotheringly helpful; we couldn't walk through the lobby without about 7 people asking us if they could do anything for us. Since it was their soft opening and they only booked out about 20 rooms but had about 80 staffers, I'm sure some of them were just offering whatever they could, to chase away the boredom, but honestly all that attention made me feel like a shoplifter!

    At any rate, how do you feel about flight attendants shaking hands? Hotel desk agents? And what is your tipping point? We all know bad service when we see it; now I'm trying to see when good service gets so good that it's bad again!
     
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  2. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I'm all for super friendly service, and generally, the friendlier the better. I am not crazy, however, about the "shake hand/give card" routine...they do that at Enterprise rent a car at DCA all the time and it drives me nuts.

    I'm all for "professionally friendly" if that makes sense...
     
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  3. N965VJ
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    N965VJ Silver Member

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    I have to agree, shaking hands in these situations seems strange.
     
  4. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    I agree that shaking hands is a bit presumptuous. OTOH, I would far prefer travel industry employees to be overly friendly than the opposite.

    If you find that this type of greeting becomes the norm on US flights and it makes you uncomfortable, I would suggest e-mailing Customer Relations.
     
  5. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    Yup...the handshake is a needless formality. Admirable effort but it lacks creativity. I'd rather have them make some random (or not so random) comment about something else after the introductions.

    Even an "Are you going to MUC on business or vacation?" Then I answer, "Vacation" they respond/lie with, "Oh yes, MUC is beautiful this time of year" and that's that.

    However, I do like the rock star treatment at hotels. In most US hotels, encountering the staff around the property is usually met with a less than perfunctory nod or even an avoidance of eye contact. In Asia, it is a cheerful and genuine-feeling, "Good morning, sir. Enjoying your stay?"
     
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  6. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    I think you just hit the nail on the head. Genuine. When someone is shaking hands with every customer, be it flight attendant, car rental desk, hotel agent, you name it, well, it just doesn't feel genuine any more. That may be why it put me off.
     
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  7. kellio
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    kellio Gold Member

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    I had this happen on a flight from FLL a couple of weeks ago. FA introduced her self to everyone, addressed us all by name every time she came to our seats. It reminded of the stews on PA years ago:) I thought it was very refreshing and felt like I was valued as a customer on her airline.
     
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  8. mrredskin
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    mrredskin Gold Member

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    yep. wouldn't bother me one bit. The handshake is an American standard.
     
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  9. Horse
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    Horse Gold Member

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    Never had "too friendly" service anywhere. I agree with you in that the handshake is a little over the top. (Another somewhat germaphobic person here).
    Nice that you had a FA who took the initiative in attempting to make the passengers feel like valued customers.
     
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  10. richinaz
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    richinaz Silver Member

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    The handshake on the plane by the FA seems too much to me unless it is done as you are entering the plane. The handshake at the hotel happens at some hotels. Personally just being respectable is enough for me, with all of the germs you are exposed to while traveling the handshake is probably not necessary.

    I wonder if people at major hotels end up with more or less sickness considering they may be meeting people from around the world on a daily basis.
     
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  11. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Yes, service can definitely be too friendly. I am not a friend of the FA, waiter, bell staff, front desk clerk, telephone reservations agent, etc. I am their customer/client/passenger and expect to be treated accordingly: professionally, competently, cordially, and courteously. I do not want friendly and I do not want strangers in such situations to presume that they may address me by my first name (which usually has sexist and ageist connotations).

    I do appreciate special greetings/welcome on flights that I usually receive as a DM on DL, but I can't recall that a handshake was ever part of this, although I do remember once or twice being introduced to the pilot where we did shake hands. Similarly, I don't recall shaking hands with hotel front desk staff, but I do regularly shake hands with the property's general manager, chef/executive chef/F & B director, or some sort of elite guest director (title varies, but upper management).

    I never thought much about it, but I would probably prefer not to shake lots and lots of hands when I travel, especially during cold and flu season (which seems to be year round when one travels internationally).
     
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  12. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    It's a fine line. I don't recall a flight attendant shaking my hand unless I offered as a thank you at the end of a flight, so that part seems a little unusual. That said, I welcome friendly attentive service, and being addressed by name. It's a nice touch, and a little personalization in what has become a completely commoditized business.
     
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  13. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Yes, I too would be fine without the handshake. I am all for super friendly serice, smiles etc.., but there should be no touching unless a swim suit model is working the front desk of a hotel in which case it would be rude not to touch. :rolleyes:
     
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  14. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    I think it's one of those things that not everyone can pull off without coming across as a little smarmy, like a used car salesman. There's a fantastic FA named Geoffrey-- he is the first one at US that I can remember who, years ago, did the introductions and handshake thing, but he's such a warm and inviting person that you really feel like he means it just for you, even though you can see him going through the drill with every other passenger. Some folks are just naturals.

    I do like to see FA's adding their own personal touches but I don't like it when it feels forced or put-on. I guess with the increased emphasis on service in the F cabin, some of the FA's will need a little time to figure out their own individual style.
     
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  15. ahow628
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    ahow628 Silver Member

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    If it was a one-off, random occurrence, I would appreciate a handshake. However, what the OP is describing sounds like a edict from the top to push a shaking hands initiative. Doesn't feel genuine.

    One thing I appreciated when my wife and I were traveling before we were married was when the hotel would ask if I was Mr. D when the room was in my wife's name. I would say, "No, I'm Mr. H. We are getting married in August though." They would put a note in the system and I would be referred to as Mr. H for the rest of the trip. Some hotels didn't do this and I would be kind of annoyed that they kept calling me Mr. D.
     
  16. scubaflyer
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    scubaflyer Silver Member

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    I have a fun method of turning the tide on the uncomfortable handshake. I don't always remember to do this, but when I do, it usually works well. When the person reaches out for that undesired/uncomfortable handshake that you don't want to return, do like the Japanese and bow. It makes me smile even typing this. It seems to still feel respectful, yet it doesn't involve the "touching a stranger" or "I'm getting their dirty hand germs" aspect.

    Try it once. It's kind of fun. :cool:
     

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