When it comes to customer service, the sky's the limit for four very special Taylor Wimpey employees in the West Midlands.
Sue Florence, Sam McGauley, Claire Harpur and Paula Scott were all former airline cabin crew employees before finding new roles with as sales executives at Taylor Wimpey's West Midlands property developments.
While they now have their feet firmly on the ground, the quartet agree that their experiences of working above the clouds have made them the perfect candidates to deliver Taylor Wimpey's renowned customer service standards.
Florence spent 23 years in the air with the likes of Britannia Airways, Maersk Air and British Airways before making the decision to quit the industry and find a career which would allow her to look after her small children.
Although it was initially a hard decision to leave a role she enjoyed, nine years later Florence hasn't looked back. Now a sales executive at Taylor Wimpey's brand new Cornfields development of new houses for sale in Worcestershire, the mum of two says: "I've enjoyed every minute of this job, and it has many similarities to working for an airline.
"In an aeroplane, the majority of passengers are going on holiday, so they are very excited and in a really happy frame of mind. It's the same with people who are buying houses - they find something they like and can't wait to move in.
"I think the most rewarding experience you can have is selling a home to first time buyers. You hold their hands and take them through the buying process, from the time they reserve through to completion. It's so satisfying when you see the excitement and smiles as they get the keys to their home."
Florence's not just a great ambassador for Taylor Wimpey when she deals with customers - she even managed to sell the job to a former cabin crew colleague.
McGauley was tempted to work for the house builder by Florence, whom she had worked with at Maersk Air, before being made redundant in 2003.
The sales executive, who is currently based at Taylor Wimpey's Caldecott Manor development of new build homes for sale in Rugby, says: "After leaving Maersk, I kept in touch with Sue and she kept telling me I would really like the job and to apply for one, but I initially wanted to stay in the airline industry.
"I was eventually made redundant again and decided to give Taylor Wimpey a go, and I am pleased to report that Sue was right - I love the job.
"Being part of cabin crew is one of the best jobs you could wish for, but there are so many similarities to what I do now.
"Every day is different because you are dealing with a huge cross section of people - you never know who is going to walk through the door, so customer service skills are everything.
"You need to be prepared for anything and have the highest professional standards as you're the human face of the company. It's a fantastic job and I find it so rewarding."
Sales executive at Taylor Wimpey's Woodland View development in Coventry, Scott, spent 17 years travelling the world with a variety of airlines including Orion, Maersk and British Airways before leaving the industry in 2002 after discovering she needed an operation to relieve a ruptured disc in her back.
"I decided I would rather not have the operation, which ruled me out of continuing as cabin crew, but would change my life instead by seeking out a new career," says Scott.
"I found work with a local estate agent, selling homes at a development in Leamington Spa.
"Before long, I was responsible for my own site in Warwickshire as a lead negotiator for Taylor Wimpey. I was then named the company's sales negotiator of the year and although it was an incredible surprise, I put my success down to the rapport I built up with customers during the buying process and from working within a good team.
"As a member of cabin crew, I had to be willing and ready to go that extra mile to make sure the passengers are happy.
"You have to be warm and friendly, but also confident you can deal with any requests or problems - which are the traits you need to be a successful sales executive.
"Those skills can be the difference between someone choosing to buy a home on my development, or going to another developer down the road."
Former Japan Airlines cabin crew member Harpur joined Taylor Wimpey as a regional sales executive in November 2010, working across the developer's West Midlands homes developments in the region.
She says: "The two roles are very similar so the transition from one to the other is fairly easy. You have to be willing to work flexibly, for example at weekends, to meet customer needs and being proficient in first aid is also a must."
Harpur, who was based at Heathrow Airport, left Japan Airlines in 2003 and before joining Taylor Wimpey, had worked for various different developers.
She says: "I actually bought a Taylor Wimpey house before I joined the company.
"After spending time in the home building industry, I soon found out about the quality of its homes, and had always aspired to own one. My personal experience in purchasing a Taylor Wimpey home has put me in a well placed position to explain to customers how great their homes are to live in and why I am proud to work for Taylor Wimpey."
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