The 4 P’s of Customer Service

Dutifully the announcement comes over the PA, “This is a completely full flight, ladies and gentleman.”  I can hear the stress in the tone of voice immediately. I can tell that this crew doesn’t love what they do. I’ve heard it many times before.

I am writing this blog in realtime. We’ve not yet pulled away from the gate. I’m sitting in seat 16F and I am looking at a flight attendant who appears to be brooding as he contemplates what the next four and a half hours will bring as we fly from Charlotte, North Carolina to Las Vegas. “If you have any electronic devices that has a battery, please turn it off. Even if the device has an airplane mode feature, the device must be turned off.”

I don’t have an issue with the message….just the way it’s said. Looking at the cabin crew I am receiving lots of information. Their body language speaks as loudly as the tone in the announcements and I know this will be a flight typical of many flights before. As I contemplate this, I think of where I was a week ago where I experienced


customer service. Flying from Charlotte to Milwaukee to spend a few days with a client, I was fortunate to be on a plane where the flight attendant stood out from hundreds I’ve encountered over the years. I didn’t receive anything free or receive any special treatment. In fact, I was treated the same as everyone else. We all experienced elite service from a flight attendant who was passionate.

One of my favorite expressions is from Mark Sanborn (author of the Fred Factor) who states that “Passionate people do ordinary things, extraordinarily well.” This was the case for Doug Iscovitz who demonstrated the four “P’s of Customer Service’ perfectly.


Doug Iscovitz - one awesome flight attendant!

Doug Iscovitz – one awesome flight attendant!

Passion – Doug’s probably given instruction on how to use a seat belt hundreds of times. His enthusiasm made me think otherwise. He delivered an ordinarily mundane message enunciating each word carefully with inflection in areas that defined the most important points of what he was saying. Never monotone, he smiled as his eyes scanned the cabin making contact with those that were actually listening and acknowledging each person with a nod as he demonstrated various safety features of the aircraft.

Polite – On more than one occasion, Doug thanked his audience for their attention and how much he appreciated that. His manners were purposeful always saying please and thank you to everyone he had an interaction with.

Posture – Doug stood tall.  It was evident that he took his responsibilities seriously. His posture emanated positivity and warmth. Perfect nonverbal communication.

Presentation – Doug’s uniform was crisply ironed and he wore a Green Bay Packers lanyard showing his other passion: football. He wore two large silver rings that reminded me of a Super Bowl or some other oversized championship ring. I studied it as he walked by delivering drinks. ‘Principal of the Year.’ This is a proud man.

Upon landing in Milwaukee, I waited for everyone to deplane so I could personally thank Doug for his service. Being a flight attendant is an extremely difficult job. Interacting with hundreds of people with different agendas is a difficult task, but the right attitude, energy and enthusiasm can pay dividends to the mental outlook of the person delivering the service and for the people receiving it.

A company is only as good as its people and on this day, US Airways shone brightly thanks to the great attitude of Doug.

Post Script…turns out, I’m not the only person who found his performance exceptional. Another blogger wrote about Doug in 2008. I have submitted an e-mail to US Airways highlighting my experience.

About James

James La Barrie is passionate about marketing and changing a company's service culture. Originally from the Caribbean island of Antigua, James melds his approach of marketing and delivering elite service together as one. James has injected his 'service marketing' approach throughout his career to transform companies from good to great.


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