Ok. I admit it. I’m a business aviation customer service junkie.
In fact, my entire career has been focused on creating positive customer experiences. Starting with my first job in retail, through to my first job in business aviation working at the Westchester County Airport, leading to my co-founding of the Chief Pilot’s Roundtable and even interacting with clients and organizing events for Gray Stone Advisors—it’s all been about the customer.
In business aviation, anticipating a customer’s needs and delivering great service always make a flight department look good, and help establish customer loyalty. If we recognize the importance of everyone involved with a flight, and understand his or her unique roles in the process, then the team has achieved success.
Over time, I’ve made a point of keeping track of some of the most compelling reasons why customer service plays such an important role in our industry. That said, here are my personal top five:
1. Pay attention to detail
There are many things you can pick up in a conversation about someone’s needs, whether he or she is a passenger, pilot, maintenance professional or scheduler. If a passenger has a special interest or request, make note of it for the future. Or,if a pilot indicates he or she might like to play a round of golf, make it your mission to try to send him/her to a local golf course, if time permits.
2. Walk in someone else’s shoes for a day
Putting yourself in someone’s place is a great way to ease your own frustration on the job and, at the same time,gain some empathy for what might be affecting that person’s behavior. If we can allow ourselves to be present in the moment and engage with individuals, it’s a win-win for both people involved. Additionally, it’s important not to take people’s interaction with you personally and always try to take the high road in dealings of that nature.
3. It’s all about mutual respect
Recognize that everyone—from the janitor to the pilot—plays an important role in providing the best possible service to our clients. We’re all part of a team, so it’s vital to always be respectful. Also, always try to perform a task to the best of your ability, and with a smile on your face. When you serve others well—with a genuine smile—you also serve yourself!
4.Benchmark against the best
Disney, Ritz Carlton, JetBlue and Marriott are four first-class organizations, each having unique global reputations for top-notch customer service. Disney comes particularly to mind because they make a practice of attending to every last detail of service, day-in and day-out.Whenever you visit a Walt Disney World park, you don’t have to ponder what to do; you are guided through the entire experience, transported to a most welcoming world. At the end of the day, you don’t necessarily remember how you were able to do everything you did, but you walk away content and happy Of course, at Ritz Carlton, “It would be my pleasure” is the oft heard refrain. And, they really mean it!
5. Always give 110%
Yes, this is a very overused rule of thumb, but it’s true and it pays off. We may not always be able to achieve 110%, but if we approach a task with that goal in mind, we’re bound to do better than we thought we would!
This short personal list is not comprehensive or earth-shattering, but I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s often the little things that have the biggest impact. And, likewise, don’t forget that what might seem like a little thing to you could very well be monumental to others. Starting with the little things can lead to great things,and your reputation for outstanding customer service might skyrocket as a result. Please remember that ‘service’ is the last true luxury. It can’t be purchased, only given!
What examples of great business aviation customer service have you experienced in your travel all over the country (and the world)? Our readers would love to know, so I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
If you’re in need of stepping up your customer service game, either to your senior executive travelers or otherwise, we’re here to help. We can review your aviation vision, mission and values, facilitate a Current State Assessment or provide one-on-one coaching.