Yesterday on the flight back home I read “The Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn. The book shares insights and learnings that Sanborn experienced first hand on how to live extraordinarily in seemingly ordinary life through the service he received from his mailman Fred. Hence the title “The Fred Factor.” Sanborn lays out some great principles that are gleaned from Fred’s life in how to serve others. He goes on to mention that he has even used the name “Fred” as an adjective to describe those who provide extraordinary service.
When I completed the book I realized that just a few hours earlier I had been served by “a Fred.” His name was Stuart, who was the ticket agent from United who had assisted my family. The more I thought about it the more his service stood out. Here is what made his service so extraordinary!
First, he was empathetic. He must have noticed the struggle my wife and I were having transporting four pieces of luggage, 7 carry-ons & two children (5 & 2 respectively – nuff said) to the counter. As a result of his observation he serviced us quickly.
Second, he put me at ease. He told me to take my time and Stuart actually looked through my paper work for me to find the appropriate documents to expedite the check in process (Matters were complicated a bit for though the four of us were all on the same flight – we were booked on two different reservations -- too much to explain why).
Third, he provided help that I had not received before! Because of the two different reservations –he got on a second self-check in machine and had my wife and daughter checked in. In addition he noticed that one of the pieces of luggage did not have an identity tag so he took the liberty to fill out one for us. Also he noticed that our luggage was already on a cart so instead of making us take them off he came from around the counter to place the tags on. (At this airport you need to take your luggage to a different place after you get your tags)These little things were unbelievably helpful.
Often I hear horror stories from friends and colleagues about the service they received from an airlines employee. I too have had my share negative experiences. However in this case Stuart made what could have been a frantic and stressful experience a very peaceful one.
I hope through my experience you will be prodded to read The Fred Factor."