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Entries in Don't Forget the Cheese! (7)

Tuesday
May032016

Pazos FBO Services: Putting the Customer First in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Part Two: Customer Service, the Universal Language Spoken Everywhere

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

Employees of Pazos FBO Services refuel an aircraft on their ramp at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico.In a previous blog post, we talked about delivering our customer service training program to the good folks at Euro Jet in Prague and how great customer service in the FBO business is truly a universal language spoken everywhere.

Last week we had the privilege of conducting another international training seminar of our Don't Forget the Cheese!™ customer service training program for Pazos FBO Services located at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico. And once again we were blown away by the friendly reception we received and the way this FBO goes about its business of delivering a great customer service experience.

Although Pazos is currently operating out of a very limited space, this does not stop the hardworking and dedicated employees from greeting every aircraft and its passengers and crew with the same zeal and enthusiasm that is embodied in their call-to-action statement: Powered by a Passion for Excellence!

Without exception, they were already practicing one of the basic customer service tenets of putting the customer first.

Under the leadership of FBO president José Maldonado and manager Zuleika Caballero, Pazos is making great strides to go to the next level. As a World Fuel Air Elite fuel provider, the FBO has a new expansive fuel farm in place and a fleet of refuelers including two 10,000 gallon trucks.

At the heart of the expansion program is a new 12,000 sq. ft. FBO terminal facility, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in August. A strategic and integral part of the new terminal will be a ramp side U.S. Customs and Border Protection services facility. This feature will help make Pazos an important turnkey port-of-entry facility for international flights with a U.S. destination.

Customer Service Tip

As part of our customer service training, we introduced Pazos to the art of turning a disgruntled transaction into a tranquil transformation. It all starts by being tactful and choosing your response carefully.

Adding some cheese to the equation means you think tactfully about your response and look and act in a responsible way. In a sense, you become re-sponse-able. That is, your facial expressions display openness and show you are ready to listen.

If you are being confronted by a customer who is disgruntled, show your concern by listening with empathy. Nod your head up and down to show you understand the complaint or the grievance or the criticism. By doing so, you are not showing you agree with the complaint but rather that you are genuinely concerned.

By listening, apologizing, problem solving and acting quickly on a solution, you can transform a dissatisfied customer transaction into a profitable long-term client relationship.

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
Jun082015

FBO Tip of the Week: Develop a Contagious Company Culture, Part 1 of 3

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

A spirited and contagious company culture is one of the most important elements in running a successful FBO operation. It's an essential ingredient in delivering a great customer service experience because it sets the tone and feeds the passion of the operation.

Customers can sense and feel a company culture. It can make them feel warm and fuzzy or be a complete turnoff.

By definition, company culture is the "way of life" within an organization. It's exhibited by the behavior and demeanor of the employee stakeholders and expressed in the way the customer service experience is delivered.

As part of our Don't Forget the Cheese! customer service training, we are often asked by our FBO clients to help them analyze their company culture and then offer leadership training to their managers and supervisors to facilitate change.

One of the tools we use to analyze company culture is to conduct internal and external SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Through this process, we can gain valuable insight into what's working and what's not.

If an FBO has an excellent track record of establishing long-term, profitable customer relationships, they are probably doing a lot of things right.

On the other hand, if an FBO is experiencing one or more of the following, then it's in need of a cultural makeover: 

  • Unusual or abnormal customer churn/defection.
  • Lack of consistent repeat customers.  
  • Few or no customer recommendations.
  • Employees feeling disenfranchised/not part of the process.

The character or tone of a good company culture needs to be contagious. It starts at the top and, through the process of observation and osmosis, resonates down through the organization where it is absorbed due to continual and consistent exposure.

The reality is that great company culture does not magically appear on its own. It's up to FBO management to set the stage and create the proper environment for a desired culture to take root and flourish.

In part 2 of this series, we'll review the key elements in developing a contagious company culture.

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
Mar312015

Tip of the Week: Give Customers Your Best Cheese!

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

At the recent NATA FBO Success Seminar, we had a roundtable discussion where attendees shared their best practices in delivering a good customer service experience.

We called the session “What’s Your Cheese?”

If you are a regular reader of our AC-U-KWIK FBO Connection blog, you know we’ve developed a customer service training program called Don’t Forget the Cheese!©. It’s a fun, memorable program developed specifically for aviation service companies who want to improve their service experience.  (Click here for the link to a past blog which explains the origins of the program and provides further background.)

As part of the training, we challenge FBOs to compete on customer service, not on price. One of the best ways to compete on customer service is to make your customer service experience uniquely unique. In other words, no one else can duplicate exactly what you do in the way that you do it. It’s unique to your style, your very own way in which your FBO delivers your customer service experience.

In a way, it’s your exclamation point! And it’s the answer to the question, “What’s Your Cheese?”

Threaded below is a sampling of what the NATA FBO Success Seminar attendees shared when asked, “What’s Your Cheese?”  Here’s what they said:

  • Our crew cars are unique. We even have an old police cruiser that’s very popular. A lot of get up and go!
  • Our cheese is developing a home atmosphere, relaxed and comfortable.
  • We send hand-written thank you notes and remember our customer’s birthdays.
  • Customers, as well as employees, look forward to our quarterly barbecues.
  • Our flying Santa is our cheese. It’s unique to us. Each Christmas we tow it around.
  • We have a GPS in every crew car, preloaded with eating and entertainment destinations.
  • The piano in our lobby is a good example of our cheese and providing something extra. We invite musicians to play for the entertainment of our customers during a busy ski season.
  • Repeat customers are greeted with a big hello and we make it a practice to remember their names. That’s adding some good cheese.

To further this discussion, we’d like challenge you to share "what’s your cheese." Simply give us your best cheese at the end of this blog and check back often to see what others have written.

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
Mar172015

Tip of the Week: Keep Your Customers Close

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

In today’s competitive FBO working environment, there is perhaps no greater challenge than keeping your customers close and your fuel margins closer. For this blog post we’ll discuss the former with a follow-up blog next week regarding fuel margins.

At the NATA FBO Success Seminar in March, attended by more than 30 FBOs and sponsors from throughout the U.S. and Canada, we discussed how to attract customers and what you can do to keep them coming back.

One disturbing statistic we reviewed was that consumer research indicates that only one in 25 dissatisfied customers will actually tell you there is a problem. The rest leave without saying a word, perhaps never to be seen again.

That’s why it’s important to train your employees to develop a sixth sense in order to recognize when a customer has a bad service experience. You don’t want a customer leaving your FBO without resolving a dispute. 

One of the keys to a successful customer service experience is to empower FBO employees to resolve all disputes at the point of transaction before a disagreement can blossom into something quite ugly. This is an important element we stress in our Don’t Forget the Cheese customer service training program.

We believe that taking care of customer disputes on the spot will turn an unfortunate transaction into a successful transformation, where both the customer and the employee have a chance to resolve an issue, find a solution and bond in the process. It can be a very cathartic experience.

Keeping your customers close is good business. Next week, we’ll discuss how keeping your fuel margins closer is good business sense.

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. For more background, visit the biography page or www.absggroup.com.

Tuesday
Feb032015

Results of Our Annual FBO Industry Survey Predict 2.5% Average Fuel Sales Increase for 2015

 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals of Aviation Business Strategies Group
- Facilitators of NATA’s FBO Success Seminar and Authors of the forthcoming book: FBO Survival: 10 Tips to Keep Your Operations Lean, Mean & Profitable

 

This week at the NBAA Schedulers and Dispatchers (S&D) Convention in San Jose, CA, we will release the results of our Annual FBO Industry Survey and Forecast for 2015.

We are happy to report that for the first time in several years, we’re seeing a glimmer of optimism amongst the majority of FBO owners and operators we encounter and are included in the survey. In a nutshell, the results indicate a current market that has yet to catch any real traction but also one that is being approached with guarded optimism with more than 60 percent predicting an average increase in fuel sales of at least 2.5 percent. (See related chart.)

This projection follows another year when fuel sales were depressed with the majority reporting an actual decrease in sales in 2014.

Overall, the outlook for 2015 shows a perceptible increase in optimism compared to the results from the 2014 survey where the majority of respondents predicted at least a breakeven marketplace with only about 40 percent projecting an increase in fuel sales volume.

Conversely, in our 2015 survey, more than 60 percent predicted an increase in fuel sales, which represents a positive upswing of 20 percent.

As far as forecasting confidence in the economy, the majority of survey respondents moved from having little or no confidence in 2014 to a comfortable middle ground position in 2015. Last year, the majority said the economy was not moving in the right direction. For 2015, most said they are undecided. Again, we see this is an indication of guarded optimism.

In what we call our high-water benchmark, 18 percent of those surveyed this year said they predicted an increase in fuel sales of 5 to 8 percent. This compares to 10 percent responding to the same question in 2014. And for the really strong performers, 8 percent of respondents said they expect an increase in fuel sales of more than 8 percent, which is the same result for last year’s survey.

An added question to this year’s survey queried respondents on whether the recent decrease in oil prices has affected the number of aircraft flying into their FBO. An overwhelming majority said the amount of traffic has remained about the same.

What we saw in the comment section of our survey is a general observation that piston aircraft owners and, in particular, the weekend enthusiasts are starting to fly more with lower posted avgas prices. Also, many who responded indicated that aviation fuel prices will not come down as quickly as auto gas because there is still a lot of higher priced fuel in inventory at airport storage facilities.

In looking at flight hours flown by general aviation and business aircraft, which we know is a key statistic linked to potential FBO fuel sales, the numbers continued to be flat in 2014. As a result, we really don’t see flight hours increasing in the short term, even though fuel prices are coming down.

Based on our survey findings, we forecast aviation fuel prices continuing to drop throughout 2015 with no appreciable increase in flight activity until the third quarter.

If you are attending the S&D Conference, we would like to see you so please stop by the ACUWKIK Booth #1723. Also, please attend our special Exhibitor Session at 5:15 pm in the Exhibit Hall.

In addition, there will be a drawing at the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) booth #1511 for a free registration for our next NATA FBO Success Seminar scheduled for March 9-10 in Las Vegas. Registrants will receive a free copy of our new book, FBO Survival! 10 Tips to Keep Your Operation Lean, Mean and Profitable. The free registration and book are valued at more than $700.

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap
John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and has served as president/CEO of Mercury Air Centers, a network of FBOs he grew from four facilities to 21 locations. He has international FBO experience including opening the Royal Aviation Terminal in Kuwait. John has held executive management positions with DynAir Fueling and CSX Becket Aviation and holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Northeastern University. He teaches the acclaimed FBO Success Seminar for the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA) and is an NATA certified safety auditor. John is the co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He also writes an industry blog titled FBO Connection for Penton‘s B&CA Digest. He is an active ATP and CFI rated pilot with more than 8,100 flight hours; certified in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. jenticknap@bellsouth.net, Ph: 404-867-5518, www.absggroup.com

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 customer service training. He has held management positions with Cessna Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft and Bozell Advertising. Ron developed the strategic marketing communication plan and programs for Mercury Air Centers and consults with numerous FBOs in areas of marketing, promotions and customer service training. He is the author of Don’t Forget the Cheese! The Ultimate FBO Customer Service Experience. and co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He is a journalist and co-developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series. Ron writes an industry blog for Penton’s B&CA Digest titled: The FBO Connection.  Ron@thejacksongroup.biz,  Ph: 972-979-6566, www.absggroup.com