Customer Service is not Brain Science

Customer service is not brain science unless, you are owner of an MRI machine and able to measure how caring, serving and love impacts the brain. Great customer service is simple. You always make the customer right, never argue, never lie, never give excuses and give exceptional service. All the basic tenants of customer service rest on the ability to set aside ego and put the customer first.

My wife and I recently returned from taking two grandchildren to Disney’s Epcot Center, Blizzard Beach and Universal Studios and a host of other tourist attractions. You may think I will use the example of Disney’s exceptional service as my model but my example is far simpler. It concerns one man, a passenger assistant working for American Airlines at the Orlando airport.

In spite of the fact that Susan is about to have a hip replacement, she was absolutely determined for this first vacation with our second set of grandchildren to happen. She carefully planned her movements to put the least amount of stress on the weakened joint. The first step was ordering a wheelchair to take us to the gate at JFK and as we disembarked at the Orlando Airport. As we walked off the flight we were met by a smiling Ricardo Lopes. Ricardo gallantly took us through down to baggage claim and waited until we got our luggage. We mentioned that we had to return the next days to meet 14 year old Will and 12 year old Kate who were flying in from California. He immediately volunteered to meet us the next day and stay with us while we filled out the necessary forms and wheel Susan to meet them at their arrival gate. As promised, he was prompt and greeted us like long lost friends.

We hit a glitch. Since my wife had been assigned to pick up the children, I was told I could not accompany her to the gate and no amount of arguing with the testy woman behind the counter swayed her. I was terribly disappointed. Ricardo stood back, heard our plight and said, “Let me see what I can do.” After a short conversation with one of the desk clerks, I was given a pass. Ricardo was now my hero.

We were waiting at the gate with cameras clicking as our exhausted and delighted grandchildren existed. Ricardo not only stuck with us, he greeted the kids with warm enthusiasm and pushed Susan to baggage claim. On the way there, he gave us his cell number and instructed us to call when, at the end of our vacation, we would bring our grandchildren back, see them off at the gate then catch our flight back to New York. Once again, as promised, he exceeded our expectations. As we turned in our rental car, a smiling Ricardo, having come into work early, met us with a large cart and a wheelchair. He helped check in the luggage and then accompanied us to the gate.

The bottom line is Ricardo Lopes is the Platinum model for outstanding customer service. Both my wife and I are writing a letter of praise to American Airlines. I will send him my book as a thank you and we will, without hesitation, call Ricardo when we visit Orlando.