Customer Experience Inconsistencies

Phil Durand

Phil Durand

Author Bio

Director, Customer Experience Management

Author Bio

Life is - as Ronan Keating once so joyfully tried to remind us - a rollercoaster. And I’m sure we all have many moments throughout our lives where we’d really rather it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, everyone enjoys a certain level of excitement. Just enough to keep things fun and interesting. But I also suspect we all have a point past which the ups and downs stop feeling fun and just become irritating.

I was reminded of this yesterday. I’m lucky enough to get time to travel in my job. Not all the time (that would be irritating), but just enough to keep it fun and interesting. Nevertheless, getting up at 4:35am for a day-trip to the Netherlands involves some challenging moments. Chief of these being the 4:35am part, and the accompanying journey to the airport where all the usual nonsense awaited me.

Find your ticket. Where’s my passport? Scan this. Bin that (it’s water, I promise!). Take off your shoes. Carry your laptop (Why? My bag isn’t lead-lined.) Did we mention your belt? Take that off too. Now my trousers have fallen down. Thanks for that. Pardon? I need to stand where? In that little room over there? Can I pull my trousers back up first please?

Sorry, I digress.

Just the idea of all this is enough to persuade most people to stay at home. And they’re not wrong! So imagine my surprise, when at Terminal 5 security I find myself in line for the security team who seemed to understand all my reservations without me having said a word. How? Anyway, my life has been put in trays for scanning and now it’s my turn through the metal detector.

Now, I don’t know about you, but no matter how I approach this, the metal detector seems to always go off. ALWAYS. Only this time, it didn’t and the man on the other side looked at me and simply said, ‘Get outta here. Enjoy your flight.’

It was said with enough of a knowing wink, oh so subtly done, that I couldn’t help but smile. The man before me, on hearing the detector beep had been greeted with an equally good-humored, ‘Ooooh, nearly’, as he was guided into the body scanner.

This sort of irreverence amuses me - and I completely understand it’s not for everyone. But it made me smile and, as such everything seemed to go better that morning. The plane was on time. I had a spare seat next to me. The connecting train was on time. It was clean. It wasn’t busy. I love the Netherlands. I really, really do.

I suppose the moral of this tale, that I’m meandering towards, is that a single, simple thing can make a huge difference. Often, I hear organizations forever trying to add sophistication. Complexity. And this is great if it also adds value for the customer. But please, let’s not forget about the simple stuff too.

In contrast, the day ended with an over-heated and incredibly small seat aboard my flight back to Heathrow. This was the sort of seat best reserved for children or people with legs that detach. Seeing as I’m neither, it was less than ideal. Still, I could only smile remembering the morning’s instruction.

Get outta here.