Photo: Mike & Margie with 97-year-old customer

By Mike Johnson

The first-class section reveals that airlines CAN provide better customer service.
They just choose not to provide it to YOU.

By classifying one group of customers as better than another, companies reveal themselves as snobby, divisive, small-thinkers.

When you parcel out the quality of your service based on dollars, you are telling most of your customers they are not worthy.

Rather than selling a first-class seat, why not provide exceptional service to EVERYONE and sell yourself as a first-class AIRLINE?

Our trolley tour business was established as a premium attraction. We had no first-class section. We provided everyone the same premium experience. So we were justified to charge everyone the same premium price.

This made us profitable enough to pay the highest tourism wages in town, which helped us attract the best employees.

It allowed us to offer customers unexpected free gifts like ice water, licorice for kids and souvenir wooden nickels. Customers received our free dining guide, list of 53 things to do in Cody and our 84-page western history magazine. We even provided free shuttle service to their hotels and campgrounds.

We didn't aim for satisfied customers. We wanted DELIGHTED customers. We created evangelists.

If we did our jobs well, customers rewarded us again by gifting voluntary tips. They also enthusiastically recommended our tour to others.
Our most effective advertising was positive word-of-mouth.

It IS possible to provide great customer service, pay high wages AND be very profitable.

You just have to hold yourself accountable to make it happen.

First-class treatment should be an attitude, not an upgrade.



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