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If airlines can succeed at customer service, so can you

By Liz Keener, Managing Editor — Powersports Business
July 18, 2013
Filed under From the Editors

Liz Keener, Managing EditorAirlines are not exactly known for their excellent customer service. With their cramped space, crummy food and lack of overhead bin space, the airline industry is actually one that customers tend to dislike. In fact, a recent story on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website showed airlines on average only receive 69 out of 100 points in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. But there are always exceptions to the rule.

A blog posted on Fast Company paints a different picture. The writer, Barbara Apple Sullivan, describes a recent experience she had with a Delta representative, where the employee helped her get home, despite the fact that she had lost her passport in a mailbox that couldn’t be accessed. As she tells it, the rep walked her through each step of the process to get her home in a timely manner, going above and beyond normal duties. She concludes that she’s even more likely to fly Delta because of that experience. (To read the blog, click here.)

Porter Airlines, in turn, impressed blogger Jane Philpott with its customer service. After her flight was canceled only hours before it was set to take off, she emailed the CEO of Porter, informing him of her dissatisfaction, as she was set to attend an important award ceremony that night. The CEO of the company called Philpott on the phone, then investigated why the flight was canceled, called her again and booked her on an Air Canada flight. Did it make a big impact? She writes, “My satisfaction as a Porter customer should last for years.” (Click here to read her blog.)

The lesson to be learned is that going above and beyond when special circumstances arrive goes a long way in customer service. And, assuring that culture ruminates throughout a company means everyone from the dealership’s owner, to a salesperson, to a service tech, etc., knows when it’s time to step up and lend an extra hand to a customer in distress.

Liz Keener is the managing editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She assembles the brand’s twice-a-week e-news and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive national dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis and dealership conference, Profit Xcelerator.

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