I’ve not written about one of my favorite subjects in a while – the customer experience. Today, I was having lunch with a client after a speech and we got to discussing how mediocre “customer service” is. Despite all the noise about “the customer comes first” and how companies need to be “customer centric,” service standards have changed very little over the last ten years.
After lunch, I returned my car to Hertz (where I’m a Platinum member – supposedly their highest level of service) and I noticed how long it took for an attendant to check my car back in and give me a receipt. I needed a receipt for reimbursement and I had plenty of time for my flight so it wasn’t that big of a deal, but it hit me just how much Hertz’s recent cuts have negatively impacted customers – the exact opposite of what you should be doing in a battle for customers.
Then I got to the Southwest terminal, where I was greeted warmly, jokes were exchanged and I was managed pleasantly. I then had a blinding flash of the obvious - every customer wants the same basic experience – to be treated like they’re the center of your universe.
I realized that when I’m buying something, when I’m utilizing a service, I just want to be treated like I’m the center of the business’ universe. I realize I’m not (and I’m okay with that), but for the moments that I’m “engaged” in a business interaction (and I’m the buyer), just try to make me feel that way.
The restaurant didn’t do that, Hertz didn’t do that, Southwest did – no wonder Southwest is so successful.