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This reminds me a lot of that show Undercover Boss. People don't realize what they are doing or how they are treating people sometimes until it happens to them. If your company doesn't respond to customer support calls in x hours, then what gives you the right to complain about another company that won't return your call?

I worked at a hotel in Newport RI in my college days and they made each of us book a reservation and stay for a night in our own hotel and a competitor hotel. It was such a neat experience and not only could I 'sell' the rooms better but I had more confidence in the service of our hotel vs. the one down the street. There was also some great feedback from our team, like the disorganization of the valet in the driveway and the limited room service menu.

I like this post because I really believe that we should put ourselves in another's shoes from time to time.

I am not a great traveler, but out of the times I did travel, via airplane mainly, I formed a specific opinion on air travel as a whole.
Apart from particular bad and good cases, the air travel system is flawed as a whole, from its roots. The whole experience should be annihilated and rebuilt from scratch, from its very roots.

I live for the moment when taking an airplane will be no different, in experience, than taking a bus or a train, but I don't see any innovative push towards it, mainly because there are really too many organizations and companies involved when trying to give even a very slightly new element to it.

Valeria,
Airlines definitely seem to be the resident Customer Experience punching bag. And the they just keep taking the hits.

In my opinion, they are certainly aware of the customer experience pitfalls, but I think that they are so entrenched in old ways and customs that they are paralyzed by "change". It's almost that they don't know where to begin to make the customer experience better because their are so many challenges to get there. The emotional capital (gaining buy-in, creating the vision, support across departments, etc) required to elicit this change is too grand and the road to getting there is filled with obstacles (policies, procedures, laws, regulation). The obstacles need to be minimized and the emotions of wanting to change need to be altered if the customer experience is truly to turn for the positive.

That's why I like your thought about sending employees (including airline execs) through the same customer touch points that travelers go through. Mapping out the customer experience is good in itself, but if its just created by a few individuals sitting in an office rather than experiencing it first hand, it's not likely to gain the traction to succeed.

Thanks for the post!
Brian

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  • The opinions blogged herein represent only those of Valeria Maltoni and do not reflect those of her employer, persons or companies mentioned herein, or anyone else.