Do Your Customers Look at You Like This – You’d Better Hope So or You Are Toast

Updated on November 2, 2021

By Rich Obertots


Baxter Bailey 16 Dec 2018 1 e1544990672737

In this photo, Baxter and Bailey see something they crave… a dish of apples being offered to them. They are both naturally affectionate and loving beings – but – when apples are near – look out!


When we started our company in 2000 – one of the first things I did – all over the USA was to immerse and fly with our new Air Medical Transport clients. Why?

What do you think every one of them told me when I was first asking about them? It was the same (and still is) wherever I went or go. It’s like this:

  1. “We’re the best and our competitors don’t compare.”
  2. All of our customers love us.”
  3. “We are the safest program in the market space.”
  4. “Our competitors state inaccurate ETAs and they tell our customers that we are not as capable as they are.”

You get the drift.

What I did for many years was say, “Okay – if in fact – all of the above are true – let’s see.”

First – I would spend nearly entire shifts with them – immersed as a ride-along /crewmember. I wanted to experience “A Day in the Life” of this program. And – I made sure to spend many days/nights at many times during shifts. Any program can put on a show for a shift or two – but – frankly – within minutes one becomes aware of their behaviors and attitudes – especially when not on a flight. If one wants to learn about a culture – be with them during shift changes and during downtime.

  • Is the kitchen sink of the base (double-wide) full of dirty dishes?
  • Is the beginning of each shift briefing one that devotes serious time to a Safety/AMRM learning lesson that involves a scenario enactment and discusses proper actions – with focus and professionalism?
  • How are the restrooms?
  • How is the team engaging with one another – do they treat each other like valued customers? Are they devoted to set up each other for success? Or are they distant – keeping to themselves most of the time?
  • If there is a flight request – are they enthused and brisk to be ready and go through pre-flight preparations or are they upset because of a flight – especially if it’s just before a shift change?

Second – the most revealing of all. I could not wait to see how the staff at the hospital Emergency Department, or ICU or CCU reacted when our helicopter and flight crew arrived. I watched their eyes, faces and body language;

Baxter Bailey 16 Dec 2018 1 e1544990672737

(One More Time – Look at The Eyes and Expressions of Baxter and Bailey)

  • Did the staff crave this flight crew? (Have to Have Them?)
  • Were they full of positive anticipation about the upcoming critical medical encounter?
  • Were they moving toward the flight crew or were they repelled and moving away – worse yet – fleeing the scene?
  • Did they know each other’s names? And were they glad to connect or was this a situation of hostility or even antagonism?
  • Were we in the DIRT zone ™ ; Was the flight crew authentically treating all individuals – no matter what their position – with Dignity Inclusiveness Respect as an equal as part of the Team?

I went through a very similar sequence for “scene run” responses and during fixed-wing transports evaluating how the flight crews engaged with EMS, Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue and others involved. The truth was always revealed.

Yes – some crews are simply more craved than others – but – it was not long before I would understand the general culture and the general manner in which the flight program was perceived. You’d better be consistent – or you are creating the worst of all situations – UNCERTAINTY for customers. Then you truly are toast.


After more than 18 years’ focus in Critical Medical Aviation and more than 39 in critical healthcare throughout the USA, Australia and Canada – I have seen and sensed much. I have also been wrong by my own self-deception – when I thought all clients and customers loved me – thought I was the most competent – thought I was “The Dude” when there were times when I was very wrong – too often too late.

Try to remember – that – although you may be very proud of yourself and your flight program – and you believe you “Are the Best” and all the other accolades of greatness – you must do all you can to validate FOR EACH AND EVERY CUSTOMER (REPEAT – FOR EACH AND EVERY CUSTOMER) what is it that they think, feel and believe about you! 

Just as Baxter and Bailey CRAVE APPLES – you want the critical mass of your customers to CRAVE YOU!

In our OutreachU™ and Flight Request Stimlator™ courses, you can learn how to earn customer trust and get them to authentically and enthusiastically crave you. We know the secrets – we’ve created the Outreach Systems and we want to help you to be sure – that if you are truly worthy – you are the flight program first to get the flight requests.

Be in touch   [email protected] 330.623.5910

Special thanks to my wife Emilia – the one offering apples to Baxter and Bailey. She’s an Occupational Therapy professional that her patients crave. And thanks to “Mo” (“mom” to Baxter and Bailey) who astonishes and brings joy to patients and staff sharing “B&B” with so many to stimulate good energy.