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Albert Lerberg |


Recently our family took a trip to Phoenix in order to see my parents who have decided that seeing the sun during the winter months is actually a good thing, who knew?  When at last (7 days) time had arrived for the trip home, we were notified by the airline (Spirit) via email that our flight had been cancelled.    At times like these your mind starts to race, so many things to do, how do we get on a new flight, what do we do with the rental car, what about the dog, will the vet keep her another day?  It really is a panic moment!  First lesson #1   Let people know what is going on – Spirit did a great job letting us know the flight was cancelled, but after that moment, it was your on your own.  They didn’t tell us it was due to weather, although we had been following the news so knew a winter storm had hit our area.  This is a simple thing, tell people what’s going on, they will appreciate it and not have to guess. Over-communicate if you have to…   I looked everywhere and finally found a Spirit number to call, when an out of country reservation agent (who I could barely understand) told me that they would not have another flight available for two days.  No hotel information, no rental car discount,  just the flight info.  Lesson #2  Take care of your customers – it would be very easy for Spirit to have hotel choices close to the airport, as well as an easy to find published 800#’s to call in-case of a cancelled flight.  Information is very helpful and powerful at times of stress, and would have benefitted all the people who were now scrambling to find lodging, food, and transportation options. 

​After booking our return flight, I called Hertz to inform them of our situation.  My wife patiently told them what was going on and requested rate info if we decided to keep the car.  The Hertz agent informed my wife it would cost over a hundred dollars to keep the car two extra days, which is almost more than what we paid to have the car for 7 days.  Customer Service Lesson #3   Help people out – and don’t take advantage of their situation.   I didn’t expect to get the car for free, but offering us to pay the same daily rate would have been a kind gesture, and one that kept me coming back to Hertz.  Instead we returned the car, where a Hertz agent charged me extra for not having the gas tank topped off.  It was a smidge below full, since we drove 30 miles into the airport.  I didn’t even argue with him, just chalked it up to lesson learned, find another rental car company.

​Once getting flights and our car situation handled, we wound up stranded at the off-site rental center (Thanks Phoenix).  With two kids under 9 now getting impatient, we frantically called area hotels only to find many of them booked.  On a whim my wife called the Green Tree Hotel close to the airport and talked to a customer service professional named Melissa.  She not only said they had a room, but would come get us immediately at the airport with their free shuttle.   Customer Service Lesson #4  The little things matter –   Our driver (another Melissa) was fantastic, told us about stuff in the area, places to eat, things to do, and took us all over whenever we requested.  The Melissa’s who were both in there 20ies, knocked it out of the park for us.  These two women did a fantastic job, always answered the phone right away, took us all over town, and even suggested two restaurants that the entire family enjoyed.   Well Done Green Tree!   –  there is a thing or two you could teach Spirit and Hertz about customer service…

Albert Lerberg
Albert Lerberg

Al Lerberg is the President and Owner of Cyber Security Recruiters - he has over a decade of experience in contract staffing and has been dedicated to information security since 2009.

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