In this series, I’ll be sharing stories of where the rubber met the road and melted on impact.
CXEDS #1: Correcting your Customer
I was in Austin for SXSW a while back and I went to go pick up my rental car. We’ll leave the behemoth unnamed. Austin is a tiny airport and there is really only one place to go when you get off of your plane. All the travelers are exiting through one of just a couple exits. I follow the crowd, a little punchy from my early morning Sunday flight, and get to the car rental area.
I’ll admit, I have special status (too much travel!) and I’m used to seeing the sign that says “You’re special, so you don’t have to wait in line! Go here to pick up your car!” Seeing no such sign, I dutifully wove my way through the labyrinth of ropes to the front of the line. (Apparently they were expecting more people than had so far arrived).
I stood there for a few minutes, 1st and only in line, watching the five agents who were seated there. Three were helping customers and two were chatting with each other. Not a one acknowledged me, not a one made eye contact.
After about three minutes I walked over to the two who were chatting and asked if they were available to help me. The look of death I got for interrupting them was priceless. I pulled out my id and credit card.
She looked at me and said “Because of your super special status, you don’t need to come here, you need to go upstairs and just pick up your car.”
My response was, “Thanks, I didn’t see a sign for your super special service.”
Now, we could have peacefully ended it right there, but oh no. The kiss of death moment (wait for it) and she replies “There’s a sign. Right there. How did you miss it?”
I know, I know. You can’t always solve for people. And we certainly don’t want to script everyone. But here is where a guiding principle could totally have helped. If the company had a guiding principle that said “we never correct our customers”, perhaps this young woman would have had a split second of a pause and the thought might have crossed her mind.
That split second where she would have remembered her pledge to her employer (or even just to her paycheck) and maybe, just maybe she would have instead said “Thank you for your amazing loyalty. Have a great time at SXSW.”