John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

July 15, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Customer Experience, Customer Service, What's the Secret?
John DiJulius

John DiJulius

For those of you who travel, think about how many curbside baggage handlers you’ve dealt with over the years. Now how many do you remember? Do you seek out certain individuals so you can tip more?

I met one such person, Marrion Demore, who works curbside as a Skycap at Cleveland Hopkins Airport at the Continental Airlines terminal. On one of my trips to the airport, like always, I was in a hurry. I had a lot of luggage and needed to drop off my luggage before parking my car so I wouldn’t have to struggle with transporting it from the parking garage. The only draw back to dropping the luggage off at curbside is that you still wait in line there for the cars that arrived before you, and you have to leave your car to wait in line at the curbside check-in, which is a “no-no” with security. This particular day I took my chances, and as I pulled up, Marrion ran out to my car, never having met me before, and helped me process my luggage and get my ticket. Nothing special or memorable — until he gave me his card (I didn’t know Skycaps had cards!) and said, “the next time, any time you are coming to the airport, call me first and I will be waiting for you. My hours are on the back of my card.” I was impressed and put the card in my wallet.

Now I have to admit, I forgot about my friend Marrion on my next few dozen trips to the airport, until one time, I was panicked, running really late and remembered him. I found his card, and true to his word, he was waiting for me when I pulled up –with my tickets in his hand, luggage tags ready (he asked on the phone how many bags I was checking) and wham, I was done. It was like drive-through drop off! Of course I tipped him more than double than what I normally tip a baggage handler.

Now I am a religious Marrion customer, I call him every time, and pay a little more for the convenience. However, where Marrion really shined was when, on one visit to the airport, I pulled out his business card, read his hours and realized that he was not scheduled during this time that I was at the airport. I figured, “back to being a regular passenger,” until I read printed on his card, underneath his hours,

“Please feel free to call me anytime to help you with your flight arrangements outside my work schedule… I am here to accommodate your needs.”

So I did, and he did. He had one of his co-workers ready for me, looking out for my car, with tickets and baggage tags in hand. WOW! Customer Service is still alive!

Action Plan: Marrion practices 3 key commandments to providing world-class service that any business needs to learn:

  1. Service Vision – Marrion finds a way to take an ordinary, bland position and turn it into a memorable experience. He doesn’t think of himself as a baggage handler, but as “Your Personal Baggage Concierge.”
  2. Secret Service Systems – Marrion has created non-negotiable experiential standards, thus making sure you never forget him by offering his customers a service that no one else does. By giving you his business card, drive up service, with tickets and baggage tags ready and waiting, he makes you want to do business with him again, even if it may cost a little more (making price irrelevant)!
  3. Above & Beyond Culture – Marrion puts his customers’ needs in front of his own, by offering to be your baggage handler concierge, even when he isn’t working. He will arrange for you to experience the same type of service, knowing that it won’t benefit him (co-worker gets the tip).

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