Delivering Great Customer Service

Delivering Great Customer Service

Do you appreciate great customer service? It is so important if you want to keep a customer or a sponsor to deliver great customer service. And it is not easy to do. Your property may have 30 or more sponsors… and limited human resources to service everyone really really well. And it is very important to know that every single customer / sponsor is critical, everyone is important.

But you have to know where to draw the line. I don’t care if your biggest spending sponsors spend $500,000 a year or $10,000 a year and lower level investors are at $50,000 or $500. It is all the same. You might have 10 of those lower level investors and perhaps 3 of the upper level ones. Do the math. 10 at $500 is $5000 in revenue. Or 10 at $50,000 is $500,000. And the three at $500,000 account for $1.5M per year or 3 times the revenue per year. And the three$10,000 sponsors account for $30,000 a year, six time your 10 sponsors at $500. Every sponsor must get everything you promised them in the agreement. They all need to be duly recognized and appreciated but remember (like the 80/20 rule) you need to focus your extra attention on those that generate you the most money. Your top-level partners, beyond the assets you promised them, must get treated extra special. Ensure they feel valued. Maker sure they feel loved!

As many of you know, I travel a great deal. When I fly, about 98% of my flights are with Air Canada. I fly Air Canada because the service is great. The flight times and types of planes meet my needs better than other airlines. I started out years ago in their loyalty program at a 35K level frequent flyer. That means I did at least 35 flight legs with them a year. With that I got some good perks. They treated me better to encourage me to feel good about them. At that time, I used Air Canada for about 60% of my flights. Then I reached the 50K level… got more perks and more value for my dollar. Then I shifted most of my flights over to Air Canada and I was at the 75K or second highest recognition tier. The perks were great. Full access to the Air Canada Lounge, free seat selection, no charge preferential seating, priority boarding etc. It was great. Then the past two years I “reached” the Super Elite 100K level. (Figure it our…. Did 100+ flights a year with them.) And this is where I really saw the fact that they appreciated my business. The most impactful for me was the access to what they call concierge service. It is like having my own private concierge service.

So here are a couple of examples. A flight was cancelled. Rather than just sending me an alert or email (which they did) to tell me that the flight was cancelled, and I would need to rebook, they rebooked my flight and sent me the itinerary. Then they called to make sure it was OK. It was not. They had booked a later flight… I needed an earlier flight. So on the call I explained I had a client meeting and needed to get there earlier not later than the original time. The lady asked how far I was from the airport and how quickly I could get there. I said about an hour and a quarter. She said ‘I can get you on the flight that leaves in just under two hours. We are sold out in economy, but I will put you in business class at no charge. WOW… I was impressed’.

Then just recently the Nanaimo airport was fogged in. I had an evening flight Nanaimo to Vancouver, Vancouver to Edmonton. When the Nanaimo flight could eventually take off it looked like I would miss my connection. I called the concierge. When I landed in Vancouver a lady was standing inside the terminal with a placard with my name on it. She said ‘follow me Mr Barootes. I am trying to hold the plane for you, so you don’t miss your connection. If we cannot get to the gate in time I have your boarding pass here for an early morning flight out of Vancouver so you can make your appointment tomorrow morning in Edmonton. And I have booked you into a hotel here at the airport and we will cover the room night’. WOW again. I felt like a really important person. (I am not that important…. But it really felt that way!) They had no obligation to book little alone pay for my hotel night… the delay was due to weather not the airline’s fault. I was lucky, the held the plane and I flew out that night.

That is amazing service. Does Air Canada go that far with every passenger? No… they can’t. But they know how to make the 100K Super Elite travelers (their bread and butter) feel important and guarantee their loyalty. In my opinion Air Canada provides great customer service all around, to every passenger. They all get what they pay for. The less expensive tickets don’t get seat selection and no cash refunds… the most expensive tickets (I don’t fly these) have great perks too… but you get what you pay for. And when you fly over 100 flights a year with a carrier you are part of the 20% on the 80/20 rule and they need to take good care of me to keep that business.

You need to do the same. Make sure every sponsor is treated with respect and gets everything you promised them. And perhaps a positive surprise perk here and there. But those top-level partners… take REALLY good care of them! They are your life line!

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  1. I am not a frequent flyer (less than one round trip flight per month) but I have also received excellent service from Air Canada. When my flight from Happy Valley Goose Bay to Montreal was delayed because of weather, the flight touched down as my Edmonton flight was scheduled to leave. While my experience didn’t quite match yours, I was told they were holding the plane and while my luggage wouldn’t make it, I could and I should please run. I got to the plane, they shut the door behind me and took off. Then they delivered my luggage to my house the next morning, an 80 km drive from the airport (one way). I was very impressed!

    • Dee Ann,
      Thanks for reading and for sharing this. It is that type of customer service (taking care of every customer or sponsor, no matter how big or small) and then going just a little further for your top ones that delivers long term success. Air Canada has the formula right. Thanks again for sharing.


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