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Entries in FBO Operations (4)

Wednesday
Aug292018

Urgent: Isolate DEF Additive from Operations

The FBO industry should be on alert for accidental Jet A fuel contamination from the misuse of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug102015

FBO Tip of the Week: Discover Your FBO’s Natural Rhythm!

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group

Listen to the rhythm of your FBO. How does it sound? Do you hear many instruments playing in harmony? Or rather a rag-tag hodgepodge of many different departments, working independently and making an awful racket?

From line service and customer service to accounting and maintenance, every department and every employee touches a customer in some way.  One bad towing job, one dirty restroom, one inaccurate invoice or one late maintenance delivery can move customers out of their comfort zone and motivate them to take their business, and their multi-million dollar aircraft, to a competitor.

For the premise of this blog, let's think of and visualize each department as a section of a well-tuned orchestra.

In the typical FBO organization, we have several departments or musical sections that make up the orchestra. They include fueling/line service, customer service, maintenance, avionics, parts, refurb, charter, flight school, aircraft sales, accounting, etc.

In consulting with many FBOs with which we've come in contact, several managers have lamented that departments often don't communicate well with each other and have tended to work more and more in isolation. In other words, they're tapping out a rhythm to their own beat, not in concert with the rest of the orchestra. In a way, they've created their own ensemble and aren't playing the same music.

When the customer spends some time at an FBO, they begin to develop a sixth sense with regard to the working environment. Their antennas are up and they can sense when there is discord. They begin to hear many drums and many instruments playing haphazardly instead of in sync as one sound, one orchestra, one FBO.

So how can FBOs pull the orchestra together, make many departments move and sound as one, and create an operating environment for delivering the ultimate customer service experience?

In the next blog, we'll discuss the four steps to creating inter-departmental harmony and discovering your FBO’s natural rhythm.

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

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Monday
Apr272015

FBO Tip of the Week: How to Measure Your Customer Service Performance

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson
Aviation Business Strategies Group

There are many line items you can measure in an FBO operation in order to assess how your business is trending. By setting simple benchmarks for tangibles such as fuel sales, fuel margins and maintenance productivity, you can set up an electronic dashboard for daily monitoring. (See our previous post: FBO Tip of the Week: Keep Your FBO Operations Simple.)

However, how do you measure an intangible like your customer service performance?

The obvious answer is to initiate a customer service survey. But not all surveys will help you benchmark your performance and, perhaps more importantly, ask the right questions.

As part of our Don’t Forget the Cheese customer service training program, we recommend FBOs initiate a measurable customer service survey using the following criteria.

  • Keep the survey short. Ask the customer to rate no more than five service areas or attributes. It’s our experience that pilots will more likely respond to surveys that appear short and easy to complete.
  • Rate each service area or attribute from one to 10 with 10 being the highest.
  • We suggest customers evaluate the following:
    • Line Service
    • Customer Service
    • Passenger Amenities
    • Pilot Amenities
    • Cleanliness of Facility
  • Also ask just one really tough question: Would you recommend us? Yes or no?

We advocate you place a value of 50 points on this question alone. Why, you ask? Simply, a customer recommendation should not be taken lightly, and for most customers, this means they are putting their reputation on the line. Also, if a customer says, “No,” to this question, you should find out why. This will help correct a potentially negative situation and assist in repairing a valued customer relationship.

Now, when you receive a completed survey, add up your points. The perfect score is 100.

For convenience, we recommend placing this survey on your Web site. We also suggest you include a printed survey with your fuel invoice and place a completed survey box/receptacle next to the facility door leading to the ramp.

If you want to benchmark your progress, do a monthly tabulation. Also, you may want to establish an historic benchmark by inviting past customers to take the survey.

Besides the obvious benefit of finding out what customers think, a customer service survey also sends a positive message to your employees that customer service is important. Therefore, make sure your employees take part in this program, and always provide them with survey results.

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.

Tuesday
Apr212015

FBO Tip of the Week: Keep Your FBO Operations Simple

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson
Aviation Business Strategies Group

No doubt many of you’ve heard of the purported business idea of KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid).  Although it’s not a phrase we like to throw around, here’s what we can glean from it for the FBO industry: Keep your FBO operations simple.

When one waxes philosophically about the FBO business, it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in some of the popular management disciplines such as business process reengineering (BPR), matrix management and consensus management, among others. Again, let’s keep it simple and boil it down to the four key things an FBO manager should really be doing:

  • Plan.
  • Organize.
  • Control.
  • Measure.

At our NATA FBO Success Seminar, we discuss these elements in detail. However, for this blog post, here’s our take on the four simple ways to manage your FBO without getting caught up in complex ideas and procedures.

1. Simple Plan

Beyond the customary detailed business plan, FBOs can keep their planning process simple by establishing short-term and long-term goals and objectives.

The short-term goals should be built around achieving expected/specified fuel or maintenance sales and determining margins and productivity rates. This would include a simple strategy and identifying the tactics required.

The long-term goals should consist of action items to be achieved over a longer period involving line items such as improving facilities, lowering insurance and credit card rates, negotiating a better fuel contract, and obtaining a longer term lease. Think in terms of writing each goal starting with an action word, such as build, promote, create, establish, lower and obtain.

2. Simple Organization

Create a simplified organization of qualified managers and supervisors. Set clear operating procedures, guidelines and, above all, communicate both your short-term and long-term goals and objectives.

Even better, get your managers and supervisors involved in the planning process. This promotes employee buy-in and raises morale.

3. Simple Control

Use data to run your business. Get and use daily reports to know what your business is doing. You can print reports or develop electronic dashboard reports from your accounting system. Industry software, like TotalFBO, has these built into their programs.

4. Simple Measure

Measuring results is critical to your planning process. Therefore, it goes full circle. Also, managers and supervisors should be informed of measurable results on a frequent basis. It becomes both an incentive and a driving factor for your business.

Perhaps the simplest way to measure results is to establish benchmarks for each of your business goals, particularly in the areas of revenue streams such as fuel and maintenance sales. You can also set a benchmark for achieving better customer service through the use of customer satisfaction surveys. (This will be discussed in a future blog.)

Remember, in measuring revenue for fuel sales, keep your margins in mind. If you sell a lot of fuel (volume) but your margins were lower than your plan, you need to adjust your findings accordingly.

The same goes for maintenance sales. Be sure to measure your productivity rate as well as your revenue (dollar volume).  You may be generating more sales, but your productivity rate might be putting you in the red.

One More Tip

FBO operators who become slaves to complexity are at risk of running a reactive business and thus reactive with their time. Therefore, here’s another simple tip.

Try working “unplugged” for one hour every morning during the time set aside to plan, organize, control and measure. This means no internet/surfing connection and absolutely no phone calls, texts, etc. This will give you a sense of accomplishment that simplifies the daily routine.

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or absggroup.com for more background.