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  Service Stars

The call centre operator who took time to find a way for a customer to use his travel points

Satisfactory customer service is seldom memorable. What is memorable is poor service and service that goes the extra mile. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to change a routine customer service experience into one we will recall months later, we will tell others about and will cause us to become repeat customers. Those who do those little extras are truly Service Stars.

Sometimes, you just can’t help but feel sorry for Air Canada.  Passenger numbers are down.  The airline is losing millions of dollars a day and operating under bankruptcy protection.  The files of the Airline Complaint Commissioner bulge with stories of lost baggage, cancelled flights and rude Air Canada employees.
Against this background I decided to book a flight to New Orleans using Aeroplan points.

Anticipating a long wait to be served I made myself a cup of tea, found an interesting book to read, dialled the Aeroplan number on my speaker phone and settled into a comfortable chair.  When prompted, I punched in my collector number and prepared myself to wait to speak to a real person.

Within seconds, Maria answered.  She asked for my destination and dates of travel.  When my first dates didn’t work, she searched for available seats on other days before and after my desired departure date.  She tried routing my travel through different cities.  When she discovered that my return flight was unavailable, she suggested alternatives until she had eventually found seats for the date I wished to return.

Throughout this long process, I never sensed that Maria felt that what I was asking for was too much bother or that I should have booked earlier.  While she waited for the computer to respond to her commands, Maria shared her impressions of New Orleans.  Having learned that I had been to New Orleans before, she asked what I thought of the city and where I intended to visit.

I don’t know how long it took to book my flights, but Maria never seemed impatient. She made me feel that she wanted me to have the best seats available… and that my satisfaction was important to her.


Nelson Scott offers several Customer Service Presentations, including Customer Service MAGIC: Changing Complainers into Loyal Customers; What Your Mother Taught You About Customer Service and other Training Resources developed by Service Quality Institute and the Vital Learning Corporation.


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© Nelson Scott.  All rights reserved.

A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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