Summer Travel: A Cautionary Tale!

David Nour
David Nour

Have you been out on the road lately? If so, you’ve probably noticed something has changed. And not for the better.

Our team just returned back to Atlanta this morning after a 28+ hour excursion up to NYC (thanks to delayed and cancelled flights) for a learning and growth opportunity. In the past year, I’ve gotten back on the road for various speaking engagements, moderating senior leadership and board retreats, consulting and coaching projects. The common thread can be summed up in one word: No! OK, maybe a few more: Can’t, Won’t, or It’s Not Our Policy!

From “We’re closed; you have to leave now” at an airline lounge, to no room cleaning at many hotels, no upgrades on flights or rental cars, no breakfasts, no coffee, no replies, no follow up on simple requests, no special benefits for years of loyalty, no promises kept, countless hours on hold (did I mention Diamond status?) and the list goes on. 

The experiences can be summarized as efficiently incompetent, indifferent, or just really poorly trained in the art and science of create exceptional experiences!

All of these road bumps, setbacks, and inconveniences, has made me read and think more about customer service trends we should all be considering in our respective roles/realm of responsibilities (often considering “customers” as internal teams we may serve as well): 

  • The global pandemic elevated customer standards and they are not going back. Don’t try to retreat from the high standards you created during the pandemic. Elevate, amplify, and enhance them instead.
  • Most people don’t like surprises. For whatever reason (most people don’t want or need excuses), if you can’t deliver a service, need to trade off a convenience or a previous perk, get proactive in communicating it. Don’t surprise people of why can’t something happen that they were expecting or looking forward to experiencing.
  • Get in the moment and anticipate. Customers always have a choice! Even if you’re a monopoly, sooner or later, they’ll find an alternative. Or choose to go without. You have to get and stay two steps ahead of their wants, needs, and expectations. What questions will they ask, what will not just meet their expectations, but delight them. If Hertz can have my car ready when I get there, why can’t hotels have my room keys ready and let me bypass the dreaded check-in process?

The global pandemic was a fantastic opportunity to rethink, reimagine, if not reinvent how we all engage and influence our customers, through the experiences we create for them! Employees demand more, customer behaviors have changed, and if you consider yourself (your products, services, etc.) as a guest in their journey, maybe welcoming them should be a lot better?

Here is an interesting article from the CEO Magazine. Enjoy! Read the full article here >

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