Digital Makes My World Go ‘Round (Mostly)

The past few weeks have brought me one of my personal best customer experiences and one of my worst. Well, one of my worst digital shopping experiences for sure. I’ll start with that one.

I’m rearranging the interior of my home. Clearing out, renewing, basically a do-over of home decorating. With that in mind, I needed to clean some carpets, but I have no carpet cleaner. Not wanting to struggle with the Big Red Rug Doctor rental at the store, I opted to buy a rather inexpensive cleaner for the light duty I needed and will continue to need over time.

bait and switchHaving had experience with a particular shopping site, I logged onto it on September 6. Joy of joys, the site said I could receive the cleaner I wanted by September 9 if I ordered now. I did! That would get my cleaner to me in plenty of time to make carpet cleaning my weekend project. I love efficiency! I was delighted! Ready to go on social media and extol the virtues of this particular company, until the confirmation email came…

…with a delivery date of September 11. Bait-and-switch much? Well, by now I did not want the thing 2 days later than originally promised. So I looked at another website, ordered the same thing for less, and it would get to my “guaranteed” on September 9. I then went to cancel my original order on the first site. Looked like it took. Got an email confirmation it was canceled. Checked it again the next day. Still canceled. Well, guess what arrived on September 11 after all? That’s right. Now I have to hassle with returning the thing? Are you kidding me? Chances are good I’ll not shop there again. So much for digital making things easier for the customer as well as the company. Sheesh!

On the other hand, here’s my account of my recent trip to Dallas to see, who else, Def Leppard! I am not kidding when I say I interacted with exactly 4 people on my entire trip, which included driving to the airport, parking, flying, picking up a rental car, driving to a hotel, and checking in, then checking out, returning the car to the airport, flying home, and then getting my own car and heading home. What kind of magic is this?

happy danceFirst, I booked my flight, car, and hotel online. I got my boarding passes on my phone. I bypassed the airline ticket counter because I only had a carry-on. I have TSA Pre-Check, so I only had to show my ID and boarding pass to the document checker (interaction 1). I scanned my boarding pass as I boarded the flight. When we landed, I used the rental car app to select my car, and when I arrived at the rental car lot I went directly to my car, started it and headed to the exit where I presented my ID to the attendant (interaction 2). When I got to the hotel, I had already checked in, so I only had to go to the front desk to pick up my key (interaction 3).

On my return, I checked out of the hotel online, left my car in the return lot, showed my ID and pass to the TSA document checker (interaction 4), scanned my boarding pass when I boarded the plane, picked up my car at my home airport, swiped my credit card at the exit gate and headed home. Easy breezy. It was almost as if I was a superhero simply waving my hand to remove obstacles in my way.

Seriously, though – how can travel be that easy? Made possible by digital superpowers granted to me by travel providers, who actually understand my needs. I remember the days when I would have had to interact with more than 10 people on the same trip. Perhaps more like 20.

And, please don’t misunderstand – it’s not that I don’t like people. I truly, truly do! It’s just that I don’t like processes that unnecessarily hinder my progress toward my goals. I’m sure there will come a day when there won’t even be the document checkers to deal with at the airport, and there already are hotels that have enabled smart phone applications to open hotel room doors (don’t know if I’m ready for that one yet). Time is money, and these digitally-enabled processes mean fewer frustrating lines for me to wait in, and more time enjoying my trip or focusing on business while traveling. It frees up the hospitality workers to focus on work with more value.

Not to mention, I was so delighted with my experience that I want to tell EVERYONE I know about it. But, it wasn’t just one provider of that amazing digital customer journey – it was at least 4. So what does that mean for a digital customer journey? More in my next post!!

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