Learning a CX Lesson While Leaving Las Vegas

It’s amazing what you can learn in the back of a cab in Las Vegas. On my ride back to the airport after speaking at the recent LavaCon Conference on Digital Strategies the cab driver and I discussed all sorts of topics from robotics, and artificial intelligence, how our brains adapt and learn, to the life and times of Marilyn Monroe (the latter being the subject of a new musical the driver had written and was hoping to get produced in the next year.) But perhaps the most interesting learning moment was the one when we arrived at the airport and the cab’s credit card machine suddenly lost its connection and stopped working.

Don’t worry,” said my new best friend, “we have a process for when that happens. I can just call it in.”

Well I’m glad that I’d left my hotel a little earlier than originally planned and I wasn’t in a rush to catch my flight.

The first step in this process was for the driver to get out of the cab and look at the 1-800 phone number painted on the side of it, so he could call in. There was nothing inside the cab with the central booking number on it. Why would there be, if you’re in the cab, you’ve already booked a ride, why would you need the number? Unless you’re the driver with a credit card processing problem.

Once back in the cab the driver reached central booking.

This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I’m at the airport and I need to run a passenger’s card.”

OK, let me pass you on to the people that can do that.”

<click… wait..click>

Hello, how can I help you?”

This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I need to run a passenger’s card.”

<click…. wait … click>>

Hello, how can I help you?”

This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I need to run a passenger’s card.”

Not another ….. one. Geez, what are you idiots doing out there?

At which point, thanks to the driver rebooting the terminal a few times during the conversation, the machine came back online and I paid.

So apart from the fact that as the customer I was hearing the whole conversation, including the colorful language, what got me was the fact that the driver was passed from department to department having to repeat the same information for each new agent.

As for the “we have a process for that,” they apparently didn’t, or at least not one that was accessible, well documented, or efficient. And if any process needed to be efficient it is one for a cab passenger at the airport being able to pay quickly and easily, as the chances are that in most cases they are in something of a rush. Clearly context and customer needs hadn’t been considered.

Back in June I blogged about how employees are customers too and that you should give them the same digital experience. The incident in the cab made me realize that there’s another aspect to that viewpoint. What about the systems that employees have to use when they are interfacing with a customer? How much will the customer judge their potential on-going experience with you based on how easy (or not) it is for your employees, agents, etc. to complete their tasks.

Not every aspect of customer experience is a direct interaction; often it’s an observation rather than a transaction.

Alan Porter

Alan J. Porter is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for the OpenText Customer Experience Suite. He is a regular writer and industry speaker on various aspects of Customer Experience and Content Strategy.

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