January 16, 2024 - David Ross, Words from the Boss

Helicopter Heroes: Empowering Extraordinary Customer Service

As the CEO of Ross Video, I’ve always been inspired by stories of exceptional customer service and initiative. I remember a legendary tale from the early 90s about a FedEx employee who, during a major snowstorm, rented a helicopter without official permission to fix phone lines. This act was celebrated, not punished, and that resonated deeply with me. 

This story perfectly aligns with our belief at Ross: we hire people for their creativity, intelligence, and initiative. They are not just cogs in a bureaucratic machine. This philosophy led me to include a unique clause in the Ross Video Code of Ethics over 25 years ago: 

“We will go above and beyond in times of crisis. If there’s no one to authorize the required action in times of company or customer crisis – do what you know in your heart is right. (You may rent helicopters if necessary.)” 

This statement is more than just words; it’s a part of our culture: 

  • In the onboarding package for every new hire 
  • Displayed in every Ross Video office building 
  • Featured at our trade show meeting rooms 
  • Shared on our website 

And in all these years, guess how many times it’s been abused? Zero. But the number of remarkable stories of customer success it has produced? Countless. 

Our culture trusts our people to do the right thing in a crisis, and they never disappoint. Here’s an example that illustrates this beautifully: 

A few years back, a Director of Engineering from a large television station group shared an incident with me. He noticed someone in a Ross jacket boarding the same flight as him, turning left to go into First Class seating. He thought, “I guess that’s how Ross spends all the money we give them — flying in style!”

Later that day, he arrived at one of his TV stations to find his Chief Engineer waiting nervously by the front entrance — but not for him. As he stepped out, the Chief Engineer rushed out of the building, straight past him to the taxi arriving behind, and wrenched the door open.  

Inside the taxi was the same Ross employee from the plane, clasping a small box on their lap. Without hesitation, the Chief Engineer ripped the box from the startled occupant’s hands and sprinted back inside the studio, yelling over his shoulder, “I’ll be back in a minute. This box is going to save our newscast! The only way Ross could get it to us in time was by hand carrying it on the last seat on the plane!”  

Later, the director told me, “David, I will never doubt your company again.” 

The most beautiful part of this story? It was the first time I had heard about it. Our team members took the initiative, solved a crisis without waiting for layers of approval, and significantly impacted our customer. This is the essence of Ross Video’s culture – empowering our people to act when it matters most. 

This approach has been the cornerstone of Ross Video’s success. We don’t just provide state-of-the-art technology; we foster a culture where every team member feels empowered to act decisively and innovatively for the benefit of our customers. 

As we celebrate our achievements and look toward the future, I’m proud of the culture we’ve built at Ross Video. It’s a culture where trust, initiative, and going above and beyond for our customers are not just encouraged, but embedded in everything we do.

Here’s to many more years of innovation, empowerment, and exceptional customer service. 🥂

Interested in more?

We’ll put you in touch with a member of our team to discuss your specific needs.