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NATA Debuts CSR Certification Program
2018-09-21   Source:AINonline   Author:Curt Epstein   Views:1006   

For an FBO, providing good customer service is second only to safety when it comes to building a successful business with return customers, and to that end the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) recently unveiled a Certified CSR Program, which held its first training course in September. This program, held at the Airflite FBO in Long Beach, Calif., marked the first time the organization has held a live customer service training course. NATAhas offered an online customer service, safety and security course, similar in format to the Safety 1st Professional Line Service Training course, for the past five years.


“We believe there was a void in the industry for CSR training and it’s a natural place for NATA to expand and continue to evolve our product,” said NATA president Martin Hiller. “NATA members have requested to have in-house, in-person workshops.”


The sold-out event, which cost $275 for NATA members and $400 for non-members, attracted representatives from 23 companies, some from as far away as the Bahamas and Jamaica. Among the presenters were industry consultants John Enticknap and Ron Jackson from the Aviation Business Strategies Group, as well as NATA’s Elizabeth Nicholson and Rebecca Mulholland.


“There’s value for customers to hear from industry experts on customer service skills and best practices and it’s all wrapped up in the envelope of safe operations,” Hiller told AIN. “Everyone benefits when airplanes are taken care of safely and in a good environment.”


During the session, interactive exercises with role playing helped engage the audience. “There was a time when you would go to workshops, either NATA or otherwise, and you would sit there for two days and it would be all lecture,” said Michael France, NATA’s managing director for safety and training. “People tend to learn best when they are doing things, not just listening.” He noted the organization has radically changed the way it provides workshops these days, with interactivity and discussion group work integral components.


All 40 candidates for the certified customer service representative program had to complete an online module, said France. The live program consisted of four more modules, each with its own practical exam, covering topics such as interpersonal skills, operational familiarity and logistics, and customer relations.


At the completion, attendees were awarded certificates and the designation of CCSR. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for folks who invested the time and effort in completing both the online course and then this in-person workshop to show off the fact that they have received extra training and gone above and beyond, and are now Safety 1st certified customer service representatives,” France explained. “Creating an accreditation that you can use after your name on a business card or the logo that goes with it is just a way to market the investment that individuals and companies are making in ensuring they are providing the best in service.”


With the first course under its belt, NATA plans to schedule at least two more next year. “FBOs need to get a reasonable return on their business, and that is driven in part by making sure their customers’ experience is positive,” said Hiller. “Training and education are always critically important to any business, and having the customer service focus truly does make the end user’s experience better at an FBO.”


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