Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Chronicle of Customer Experience – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Where is the Customer delight?
Where are the Sensors in the Ground?
Which companies appear to care about their brand?

Recently, I traveled from Seattle to Las Vegas for CTIA Wireless. Along the nearly week long trip I played customer to many company’s products and services. Not only did I have many different types of customer experiences, those experiences varied wildly in quality. Here is a brief summary of my experiences though I’ll embellish on each in future posts including how these companies could have easily put sensors in the ground to improve the experience.

My experiences included parking in an off airport lot and riding a shuttle to the airport. At the airport I checked in, checked my bag, navigated security and made it to my gate. I boarded the Alaska Airlines flight, had an in-flight experience that included the purchase of drinks and a snack pack using my Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card.

Upon landing I picked up my bag from baggage claim, stood in a lengthy line for a cab, while trying to shortcut the line by sharing. Unable to locate a fellow traveler heading to Harrahs or nearby I occupied the cab alone, empty seats around me, and headed off to Harrahs, my hotel casino conveniently located near the monorail and the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Over the course of the next week I ate meals in and out of the convention center, ordered room service, finished reading Tribes by Seth Godin, met with different individuals and companies, attended educational sessions, listened to speakers present ideas and share opinions in panels. I attempted to use my BlackBerry to navigate the show floor, take notes, make calls and reservations, surf the web, and stay connected to my peeps back home. With the winding down of each evening I returned to Harrahs, plugged into my social network to reconnect, communicate and play online games.

Nearly a week later I checked out of Harrahs, headed to the airport, then returned home to Seattle. Along the way there were some very striking customer experiences, some good, some bad, and some ugly. I also had some insights as to how these experiences could have been more delightful for me and fellow customers. We are in an age where customer delight and brand perception should absolutely matter, given the sad financial affairs of many companies and the heightened competition. Truth is, all of the insights to creating more delightful customer experiences that I had are achievable given the vast amount of talent out there. Companies that are “at capacity” and cannot identify and solve the correct problems to increase customer delight, need only crowdsource to tap into external talent that is willing and able to share feedback and implement relevant and needed solutions.

I'll follow this post with other posts depicting my customer experiences and brand perceptions with specific companies and products. I’ll also note whether or not the company had “Sensors in the Ground” to capture any feedback about my customer experience.

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