A recent experience at Vancouver International Airport is evidence that smart companies are realizing that social media is a great way to provide customer service.  I was so impressed with the efforts of a customer service representative at YVR Airport that I have to share them with you on THE PROSALESGUY BLOG. We all know how stressful traveling can be, especially long distances when you are connecting flights.  There are many things that easily can go wrong.  At times, it seems like a frustrating event can cause a domino effect with little you can do about it.


My Trip

My wife and I were traveling back from our European vacation from Amsterdam and landed at the Vancouver International Airport.  It’s a very impressive facility with great retail and restaurants.  It resembles a shopping center where you also have the opportunity to catch a plane to just about anywhere.  We had cleared Canadian Customs and after a quick lunch, proceeded to security to get on our connecting flight.


A Disneyland Lineup

We all hate this.  The infamous Security lineup that winds itself front to back many times over.  I have been impressed going through security at many airports before with some officers who actually provided customer service.  Like anything, there are good and challenging experiences.   In this case, there were two of four screening stations open on a Thursday evening before an Easter long weekend.  It took us 40 minutes to get through and I decided to let YVR know of my thoughts on Twitter.


Pay close attention to the times on these tweets

Dave Warawa ‏@DavidWarawa  Apr 17 @yvr 40m to clear security on a domestic flight is too long. This happens consistently. You need more staff before a long weekend 4:24 PM – 17 Apr 2014

Vancouver Airport ‏@yvrairport  Apr 17 @DavidWarawa Sorry for the delay at screening. We are working with @catsa gc to process passengers as quickly as possible. 4:55 PM – 17 Apr 2014

Vancouver Airport ‏@yvrairport  Apr 17 @DavidWarawa Can we DM you for follow up? Want to make sure we’ve properly addressed this. 5:09 PM – 17 Apr 2014

Dave Warawa ‏@DavidWarawa  Apr 17 @yvrairport That challenge is solved. Now waiting to board #CentralMountainAir 587 to Comox now delayed for 70 minutes 5:47 PM – 17 Apr 2014


Here is the Real Shocker

OK, I wasn’t having a great day and decided to spew a bit on Twitter.  The ten hour flight plus the eight hour time difference had much to do with it.  Now, here’s how YVR Airport caused my jaw to drop to the floor. We were approached by a Customer Service Representative from the airport who asked me if I was Dave.  I had no clue who this person was and fought through my exhaustion and said Yes?  He identified himself and said this:


I just wanted to stop by and address your concerns in person.  Can I buy you a cup of coffee?


He continued to explain that even though the YVR Airport contracts security out to a third party, it still has to take responsibility for the long lineups.  He asked us where we were coming in from, how our holiday was and if there was anything else he could do.   I said No, and thanked him for the great customer service with a smile on my face.  Wow!  That was unbelievable.  As a Sales and Customer Service Trainer, I was shocked by the experience.  It doesn’t stop there.  Again, take note of the tweet times.


The Next Tweets

Vancouver Airport ‏@yvrairport  Apr 17 @DavidWarawa Hope you’re in the air soon and you enjoy your flight home. 6:05 PM – 17 Apr 2014

Dave Warawa ‏@DavidWarawa  Apr 17 @yvrairport Thanks for visiting me and paying personal attention to a customer. That’s excellent service! Unheard of frankly! 6:13 PM – 17 Apr 2014


Let’s cover what the Customer Service Representative at YVR Airport did:


  1. They responded to my first negative tweet in 31 minutes with an apology and remedy.
  2. They reached out to me 14 minutes later to follow up and take the conversation off line.
  3. A Customer Service Representative leveraged Twitter for a face-to-face customer service experience.  He found me by researching our gate number and taking note of my Twitter avatar which is an image of me.
  4. He accepted the responsibility for a third party problem and offered to buy me a coffee.
  5. He went back to Twitter to wish me a good flight and practice proper social etiquette.


That is Customer Service. 

Congratulations, Vancouver International Airport.  Not only do you get it, you train your people to internalize your vision and bring it to reality.  My thanks to the Customer Service Representative who displayed the essence of professionalism and raised the bar of customer service higher for all of us.


Here’s my question

Does your company understand the value of social media as a customer service tool?

Are your staff members able to understand the tangibility of customer service in your industry?

Do they have the skills and training to carry it out?

What’s the true value of your Customers being your leading advocates and sending business to you?  


These skills do not come naturally.  Should you be interested in training in these areas, please click the link…



Pro Sales GuyPro Sales Guy


PROSALESGUY TRAINING offers Group and Individual Sales Training, Sales Management Mentoring and Consultation,  and Business Consulting Services in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.  Training can be done on site or via web conferencing.