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Part 2: Making the FBO Customer Your Fan

By Ron R. Jackson, Co-Founder, Aviation Business Strategies Group

In a previous blog, we talked about making the customer your fan. It’s a reversal of roles … a conscious change in attitude by your customer service staff.

Keep in mind, your customer service staff consists of anyone that comes in contact with the customer. This would include customer service representatives (CSRs), line service technicians, flight instructors, charter pilot and the FBO owner or manager.

For this blog post, we’ll talk about making an impression in a way that prompts the customer to be your fan. In a nutshell, it’s all about making an impact on the customer in a way that he or she will not forget. In turn, the customer recommends the FBO by sharing their customer service experience to their staff or peers.

Here’s an example: Recently, I became a fan of a hotel in the Indianapolis, IN area. One of our clients, Montgomery Aviation, arranged for my partner, John Enticknap, and myself to be lodged at a local hotel.

As a student and teacher of exceptional customer service, I often observe the customer service habits of places we frequent while traveling, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or commercial store. At this hotel, I was impressed from the time we checked in, until we left after a two day stay.

After checking in, I came down to the lobby to see if there were any newspapers left. It was already evening and the manager apologized for having run out. However, he mentioned the next day’s paper would be delivered at 4 a.m. I laughed out loud and said I probably wouldn’t be getting up that early.

The hotel representative said no problem and asked if he could arrange to have a paper slid under my door by 6 a.m.?

I know some hotels provide this service on a daily basis, but this was not the case at this location. So, I said please and thank you, and retired to my room. As my 6:30 a.m. wake up call sounded, my feet hit the floor and I noticed the paper had arrived as promised.

The second morning, I forgot to ask for a paper delivery, but just like the day before, my wish was granted and I was a very happy camper. Obviously, the hotel staff made the time to look at all customer service requests and took pride in following through.

Besides the newspaper request, I found I had not packed my razor. So, I went to the front counter to see if I could purchase one - as some hotels keep spares. Not only was I not charged, they gave me the best razor that ever whisked my whiskers. No kidding. It was the latest wiz-bang, multi-bladed model on the market. I joked that from now on I would forget my razor whenever I stayed there.

To say the least, I was hooked. I became their fan. Not only did I tell the good folks at Montgomery Aviation about their fine selection of a hotel, I use this as an example in our Don’t Forget the Cheese© Customer Service Training classes.

And now, I’m telling everyone who reads this blog, which begs the question: What was the true value to the hotel with the newspaper under-the-door gesture and the great razor I received?  As the commercial says, PRICELESS!

For FBOs, it’s easy to put these types of gestures into play. It starts by everyone on the staff ‘being there’ for the customer, anticipating their needs, wants and desires. Every day the FBO staff should be looking for an opportunity to help a customer along the way - even before the customer asks.

It’s being the ‘restaurant owner’ and taking pride in ownership of your job and the place where you work. It’s also being able to ask the really hard question: Would you recommend us? If a customer hesitates in answering this question, you should find out why and fix the problem.

Ultimately, if everyone on staff has a great attitude about their job, about their FBO and about delivering a great customer service experience, customers can’t wait to become your fan!

Please tell us how you make your FBO customer your fan. Send me an e-mail to Also, learn more about providing exceptional customer service at our next NATA sponsored FBO Success Seminar to be held March 11 and 12 in Las Vegas. Click here to register.

About the authors:

Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson is Co-Founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and President of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and CSR training. He has held management positions with Cessna Aircraft and Bozell Advertising and is the author of “Mission Marketing: Creating Brand Value” and co-author of “Don’t Forget the Cheese!” the ultimate FBO Customer Service Experience. Ron co-developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series and writes an industry blog for titled: The FBO Connection. 

John Enticknap
John Enticknap founded Aviation Business Strategies Group in 2006 following a distinguished career in aviation fueling and FBO management, including President of Mercury Air Centers network of 21 FBO locations. He is an ATP and CFI rated pilot with more than 7,800 flight hours and is the author of “10 Steps to Building a Profitable FBO”. John developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series and writes an industry blog for titled: The FBO Connection.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things

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