Friday, March 29, 2013

Sky-High Aspirations: Anne Basten helps MetJet Customer Service Soar

In her role as customer operations manager for MetJet, Anne Basten has had an amazing opportunity to watch her dreams – and those of others – literally take flight. 

A graduate of Mount Mary College in Milwaukee with degrees in business and fashion merchandising, 56-year-old Basten was no stranger to travel prior to taking her current position. As a clothing buyer and divisional merchandise manager from 1985 to 1996, her destinations included Paris, London, Rome, Florence and Hong Kong.

“I have traveled millions of miles over the years and have seen firsthand how our options became more limited, the connections got longer, and the prices got higher,” remembers Basten, a De Pere resident. “You learn which cities to avoid if connecting and what airlines actually worked with you, not against you.”

MetJet, started in 2003 by Michael Heisman, was incorporated with the intention of providing northeast Wisconsin with less expensive nonstop charter flights to key tourism and business destinations, like Orlando and Ft. Myers, Fla., she explains.

“Fast forward to 2011 when I had a chance meeting with Mike,” she reflects. “I overheard a conversation about operating a charter service out of Green Bay going to Orlando: nonstop, competitively priced, great customer service, etc. At the time, he was looking for investors, and I was hooked. I loved his thought process and business plan and felt this was just what Green Bay could use.”

The word spread quickly as Heisman gave hundreds of presentations in search of investors.

“MetJet is the company it is today because of the ambition of Mike and over 300 local investors,” she says.

For Basten, whose father was an avid supporter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), each day means she’s helping to ensure Heisman’s vision – and the good intentions of the investors – remain a reality. Given her travel industry experience, and with two daughters away at college, Basten’s heart is committed to improving the travel experience for families and business clients alike.  

  “Many people have given up on traveling because of the inconvenience. MetJet has opened up those doors to bring families together again.” she adds. “It can be very humbling at times and heartwarming just the same.”

In congruence with MetJet’s mission, Basten helps bring integrity back to the airline industry by serving clientele with respect and understanding their needs.

“MetJet fills a niche for vacation travelers and snowbirds. We pride ourselves on the little things that can add up to be big things in the end, like live customer service, two free checked bags per person, free advance seating, nonstop flights and even a free Great Harvest Bread meal on outbound Green Bay flights,” she says.

MetJet offers promotions for travelers, including gift cards for Florida attractions and free roundtrip tickets offered at various times of the year. Perhaps more impressive is the company’s enduring commitment to the community, with organizations like Freedom House; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and Ribbon of Hope benefitting from MetJet’s dedication.

The company not only strives to change the perceptions of air travel through impressive customer service standards, but Heisman is on the cutting-edge of industry innovation as well.

“Mike has developed a complete Web-based reservations and operating system,” explains Basten. “The web-based reservations system will allow passengers to view available flights and seats, as well as purchase and manage their reservations. The system has also been equipped with a travel agency functionality, which allows travel agents to earn commissions for every MetJet flight booked.

“MetJet’s operating system also provides portals for the air carrier, airports and even the investors,” she adds. “The system is also what gate agents and airport staff utilize to both check passengers in at the airport and board aircraft. In fact, the web-based application will allow MetJet to utilize any gate within an airport, as gate agents will be equipped with Apple iPads.”

While paradise is just three hours away for vacationers and business travelers flying with MetJet, Basten believes each workday is a slice of heaven.

“We deliver travel the way it should be.” she says. “We deserve better travel options. We shouldn’t have to settle.”

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