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Success Newsletters

Vol 11, Number 10 November 2011

In this Edition

1.  The Tale of the Missing Coat – A story of exceptional customer commitment

2.  Monthly Inspirational Quote

3. Recommended Reading


The Tale of the Missing Coat – A story of exceptional customer commitment

 I recently spent some time in England. Primarily the south, London, Oxford and some surrounding areas, even a visit to the famous historical and heritage site at Stonehenge. It likely comes as no surprise to many of you that England gets its fair share of rain. Because of this, I invested in a new trench coat for the trip. I bought it at one of my favorite men’s stores in the US and brought it back from a recent trip to California.

I, of course, made good use of the coat during my trip, and guarded it like a hawk on trains, restaurants, etc. It is a great coat. Despite this, I left it in the Air Canada departure lounge at London Heathrow airport, and I did not even notice it was missing until the plane landed in Toronto. I found out later, that an attendant in the departure area had even brought the coat on board to see if they could find an owner prior to the flight leaving, I did not pick up on it being busy with my headphones on and listening to music and reading.

Well here I was, in Toronto, distressed about the missing coat and feeling foolish for losing it especially as I had guarded so well during my entire trip. Well, this is when an example of going above and beyond kicked in.

The flight attendant, Joanna, to whom I had spoken about the coat, introduced me to Renata who was the senior flight director on the Air Canada flight. Renata immediately showed empathy and concern. She could see I was upset (mostly at myself), and told me she would do everything in her power to help me try to get my coat back. I knew she meant it.

Upon leaving the plane Renata accompanied me personally to the area where I would have to fill out the correct forms to try and trace my coat, which to me seemed like a long shot and a stretch at best. Renata gave me her business card and then wrote her personal cell phone number for me to contact her, all above and beyond the call of duty.

Exceptional service provider number two was Daniel, who manned the desk that Renata had taken me too. Right away he showed empathy to me and helped me in filling out the forms as I was upset. He then searched his directory and gave me the direct telephone number at Heathrow for the Air Canada lost and found dept.

Enter exceptional service provider number three, Matthew, whom I connected with at the Air Canada Heathrow lost and found the next morning. He quickly informed me that he had my coat! Keep in mind, it was in London and I was in Toronto. He advised me he would pack it up for me and put it on one of the next day’s flight’s back to Toronto. “No problem, Mr. Marcus, all part of the service and no charge.”  He even called me back to give me a tracking number and told me when to pick it up at Toronto airport, after it cleared customs.

I got the call and picked it up, and amazingly the person who had helped me two days earlier, Daniel, was on duty that night and was the one who gave me my coat back. But that is not where the story ends.

Firstly, Renata called me twice to check on my progress with the coat. Secondly, and even more surprisingly, just as I was finishing this story for the newsletter yesterday,  the telephone rang, and it was Joanna, the flight attendant. She was calling me at home on her own time to see if I had gotten my coat (a full two weeks later), as she was heading back to London next week, and if I hadn’t gotten it yet, she was going to bring it back with her!!

Now I will tell you that the day I lost the coat had not started off well. I was faced with a surly Air Canada ticket counter attendant at Heathrow who was having a bad day and was not going to let me check in at the business class counter for my flight and with whom I was furious with, I demanded to see a supervisor as I knew my rights as a Air Canada star alliance gold card holder that I can check in at any counter even if not flying business class, he relented after the superviser told him so but never apologised to me at all.

However there are a few lessons that this day of events with Air Canada tell us:
  1. Don’t let one bad apple in a company ruin your opinion of the whole company
  2. Systems and structures in place work when people care
  3. It always pays to be nice to people. People are far more willing to help you and go the extra mile
  4. Customer service, creating an experience for your customers, and showing empathy will, even more today, stand you out from the crowd.
  5. Never underestimate the power of personal follow-up. Most people don’t bother. Email is good, a phone call is better.
  6. Care about what is important to your customers. They do remember and will spread the word. I will alone share this story with many thousands of people.

To Renata, Daniel, Matthew, and Joanna at Air Canada, thank you for reinforcing my faith in true customer commitment and representing your company so well. In the big picture of things, one coat isn’t a big deal, but to me it was.
______________________________________________________________________
MONTHLY INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE

“Lead from behind and put others in front”
Nelson Mandela
__________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDED READING

Steve Jobs         By Walter Issacson

It’s not often I review a book without finishing it but at over 600 pages this book is going to take me a while to read. I am about a quarter away though the book and enjoying every word.

Before he passed away, Steve Jobs gave the author unprecedented access to him and shared many personal things both good and bad. To Jobs credit he did not want this to be a touchy feel book, he wanted the world to know warts and all about this so private person.

My recommendation to you is if you read one book, read this one. I’m a big Apple fan, but even if you are not, you cannot deny the impact Steve Jobs had in the world of technology. You will be reading about a genius and also a human being who was flawed in many ways, and you will learn much.

A very well written and fascinating book.

Date Added: November 27, 2011 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters



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