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The power of motivation: Zainol's 46-year journey as a Customer Service Agent

The power of motivation: Zainol's 46-year journey as a Customer Service Agent

Zainol Mahmood’s journey begins like any other employee. Looking for employment and specifically liking the customer service field, he applied for a Customer Service Agent role at SATS in 1977.

Unaware of the incredible adventure that lay ahead when he first set foot in Changi Airport, Zainol devoted himself to his role, leading to a remarkable career filled with memorable experiences and achievements.

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Zainol Mahmood, Customer Service Agent at SATS Passenger Shared Services

Day in and day out, Zainol wholeheartedly embraces his job where his goals, to delight customers and to make people happy, remain unchanged despite the ever-shifting nature of being a Customer Service Agent.

The greatest motivation

You’d think that after four decades on the job, Zainol would be ready to kick back and enjoy retirement. But at 63, when most people would be hanging up their hats, Zainol couldn’t resist going back to the workplace.

Retiring as a Duty Manager, he couldn’t stay away from his deep-rooted passion for customer service, so he returned to SATS, taking up the Customer Service Agent role — the very position that marked his humble beginnings within the company.

His unwavering commitment and everlasting enthusiasm continued to shine brightly, a testament to his remarkable tenure and dedication to putting a smile on passengers’ faces.

Zainol holds a heartfelt belief that bringing satisfaction to passengers and creating exceptional customer service experiences is a precious reward in and of itself.

“I believe that the passion to delight is the most important motivation. When you see your customers happy, you will feel happy as well,” Zainol shares. “Going the extra mile to assist your passenger can not only make their day but make yours, too.”

Zainol fondly recalls many occasions when passengers, whom he did not recognise, approached him with gratitude, stating that he had assisted them in the past. These encounters made him realise that by simply going the extra mile to help customers, he can leave a positive impact, with passengers remembering him months after they first met.

“Customer satisfaction is my satisfaction,” Zainol shares the guiding principle that shapes his approach to his work. It allows Zainol to not only excel in his role as a Customer Service Agent but also motivates him to assist passengers in whatever way possible.

Read also: From making music to painting smiles: Mostafah's journey as a Customer Service Agent

An unforgettable journey

Interesting and memorable encounters have filled Zainol’s life as a Customer Service Agent with a profound sense of fulfilment.

Zainol shares his most memorable experience, in which he went above and beyond to assist a stranded couple in retrieving their passport.

“I’ll never forget this encounter I had with a Japanese couple going to Bali for their honeymoon,” Zainol begins. “I had just started my shift when I found out that the couple was stuck at the airport because the lady had left her passport on the plane!”

The aircraft had previously been checked a few times before Zainol’s shift, and it had already flown to Kuala Lumpur. It was scheduled to return to Changi Airport in about an hour. In the meantime, Zainol did his best to comfort and assure the distraught couple. He could feel the stress and turmoil they were going through and promised them that he would personally look for the passport as soon as the plane landed.

“When the aircraft landed, I wasted no time and began a meticulous search for the passport,” Zainol continues. “And guess what? I found it tucked between the pages of a magazine!”

The relief that washed over Zainol as he returned the passport to the grateful couple was immeasurable. “She was overjoyed, so happy she hugged me!” Zainol exclaims with a chuckle. “Being able to save their honeymoon truly made my day and filled me with so much happiness.”

In moments like these, Zainol realises the profound impact his actions can have on the passenger journey. To him, going the extra mile to assist and bring comfort is not just part of his job but a personal mission driven by his passion to be of service.

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One of the awards Zainol received for his outstanding service as a Customer Service Agent at SATS

Going through hardships together

With his wealth of experience, Zainol often takes on the role of a mentor, guiding and supporting new Customer Service Agents for a couple of months. His approach involves allowing them to learn on the job as he believes it is important for them to be independent. However, he makes sure they know that they are never alone in their journey. “If they encounter any problems or difficulties, they can always call me, whether I am on shift or not,” Zainol explains.

Being a Customer Service Agent has its fair share of obstacles and challenges, Zainol admits. As the first point of contact for passengers, they often deal with grumpy customers. But Zainol takes all these negativities with a grain of salt and advises his mentees: “Pretend there is a glass in front of you and the passengers. Try to put yourself in their shoes.”

Zainol’s role as a mentor goes beyond teaching job-specific skills. He instils in those new to the field of customer service the values of dedication, compassion, and the importance of putting customers first.

As a Customer Service Agent at SATS, Zainol finds strength in the close-knit team who have been by his side every step of the way. “We’re in this together. We have each other’s back,” Zainol emphasises.

As Zainol reflects on his 46-year journey at SATS Passenger Shared Services, he remains grateful for every day that he can have a positive impact on passengers’ lives. He remains motivated to continue serving and delighting passengers, and does so with a close, bonded team together with him every step of the way.

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