Meet Diane. She is traveling with her 2 year old and 5 year old to her in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving. This is the one annual trip she has to take. And she dreads it for most of November. Diane knows long lines at check-in, delayed flights, and scarce rent-a car choices await her. She feels anxious. And trapped.
This is the average traveler’s mindset on the busiest travel day of the year. In 2018 AAA reported an estimated 51M Thanksgiving travelers. The largest growth was driven by air travel that carried 3.95M passengers. This scenario sets customer experience up for failure.
So, how do you improve it?
Every industry has its busiest day of the year. For some, it is Thanksgiving. For others, it is Christmas, a big show, or a winter/summer season.
What measures are you taking to create opportunities from those days that reinforce your connections and loyalty with your customers?
Who are you hiring to fill in the overflow in your schedules? Seasonal workers? Temps?
One of my earliest jobs in America was as a seasonal worker in Atlantic City. I still remember the challenge I had as a foreigner to learn the names of all the products I had to sell. The store was on the boardwalk and sold salt water taffy. I had never tasted – or heard of – salt water taffy before I showed up for my first day of work. What level of customer service do you think I offered to our customers that summer?
I understand the value of seasonal labor. But remember, if you opt to use seasonal labor, make sure you train your people well according to your hospitality standards. To help ensure success, build incentives into the contract that drive hospitality across the operation.
In one of my previous lives, we hired temps for our big show day. One of those temps wore sunglasses on the job (indoors!). When I, the Experience Executive, asked him to please remove his sunglasses, he said he was having trouble seeing due to the glare from the windows. I won’t explain why wearing sunglasses, slumping on a chair, and nearly sleeping is bad customer experience. I simply caution you to apply the proper weight of impact this can have on customers’ experiences on the busiest day of your operation. Temp agencies have a place in the business ecosystem, but the SLAs need to be tight.
Busy days test technology capacity. So build technology for your busiest day! Do not build it for the average day. If you do, all hell will break lose on your busiest day.
Make sure self service channels work as designed so you can have manageable volume of calls into contact centers. But how do you do that? You do that by ensuring that your website can handle millions of visitors per hour. In another instance, if you use self-service kiosks, make sure they are working optimally. All. Of. Them.
Verify that employee tools like iPads and other key software are in order. Regardless of the particular technology you use, think through the scenarios that will arise on your busiest day. Then do what you need to do to ensure the technology to support these scenarios is functioning well.
For greater chances of success during the busiest day of the year, schedule a refresher training session in your contact centers so agents understand how to work with chat bots, knowledge sharing systems, and core management systems. Remember to train for the many exceptions that they will have to process when things get busy.
Customer Recovery Matters
You can’t prevent the volume, nor can you prevent every bad customer experience. What you can do, on the other hand, is design and bullet proof your customer experience engine to deliver amazing customer recovery!
Studies show that customers who experience a problem with a brand have higher loyalty after the brand fixes that problem than customers who never had a problem in the first place. Capture this opportunity!
Invest in customer recovery and enable your employees to do the right thing when things go wrong. In JetBlue we had the Blue Hero Program. Create a program that inspires your employees to do more for your customers. For the busiest days, remove lengthy approval process flows. Give your customer experience crew the power to make discretionary decisions and save a customer. Ritz Carlton gave people $2000 per incident to spend to make the customer happy, without manager approval. You do not have to go that far. The point is, you have to invest something. Customer recovery is not free. But it is a good business case and it has strong, proven ROI.
So, how do we make Diane’s travel experience better this year? By caring. Have hospitality trained employees in the lobby to welcome her. If the flight is indeed delayed (which is often beyond an airline’s control) bring out snacks and toys for the kids. If you have free wifi, remind her and help her access it, so she can turn on mobile entertainment for the children.
Equip your people to answer her questions. And make sure they have the bandwidth to show care for her. And last but not least, if Diane does call with a problem, offer her an empathetic, personalized experience so she feels heard and understood.
Who knows? Maybe if all the brands she interacts with on that day, she will not be so anxious to travel on the busiest day of the year next year.
Customer Experience Audit: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce
How to balance the efficiency call center metric FCR (first call resolution) with wait and talk time? JetBlue promotes human interactions as a brand promise.
Poor Integration is Bad for Customers and Worse for Brands
Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt…
Employee Experience and Customer Experience Depend on Strategy
This week, Andy Newman wrote a great article in The New York Times about the life of a retail sales agent. He used the example of an Old Navy sales…
Customer Experience, Self Service, and the Gift of Time
Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.
Create Your Tribe: How Great CX Makes a Lifestyle Brand
Newcomers to the market realize that their business is only as strong as the growth of their customer base. With that in mind, senior leaders work hard to shorten the distance between them and the customer.
Hiring Tips: Who Should I Hire First on My CX Team
The pressure to demonstrate business impact and ROI on your Customer Experience initiatives quickly makes your first hire even more important. As usual, there is no answer that fits all scenarios perfectly. We have some helpful strategies to consider based on the structure of your organization and your goals.
Let’s Get You Certified as a Customer Experience Professional!
Like all mature professions, customer experience has a certification that is internationally recognized. Adding it to your resume will signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your aspiration to be part of its leadership ranks…
Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments
Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.
Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
Customer Experience Design – How Do You Want Customers To Feel?
Last week, we talked about CX Design in terms of space and function. Today, we continue our CX design journey to talk about the design of emotions and feelings. The new…
The One CX Goal You Need to Set for 2019
For 2019, I urge you to make only one CX goal – bring about business success with your customer experience work. Don’t just do work in the general sense. Rather, set a CX goal that has a real impact on your customers and their experiences with your brand.
Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”
Once a year I look for an event or a conference to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year I attended…
What is Customer Experience? What are the Faces of CX?
Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.
Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World
“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle. Every industry we know will be disrupted. For those of us in aviation,…
United CEO does not care about #customers happiness. Really?
Lately, I have been thinking about United Airlines. In the beginning I was thinking about them, because I was asked if it is possible to build a customer-centric culture in…
Are You Ready to Go Exclusive with Jane, Your Digital Concierge?
In 2015 JetBlue introduced bag fees. Seven years after the competition. The media exploded. Many publications were negative. They blamed the airline for “selling out.” One headline read “A New…
Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX
If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.
Liliana Petrova Talks Patient Experience on Helthcare Podcast
Today we share with you a recent healthcare podcast we recorded with Stacey Richter. I was very excited to have the opportunity with her to discuss similarities between the healthcare…
Why you need a defined culture to do CX right?
When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. Your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.
Why Customer Retention is the True Measure of SaaS Success
Guest Post by Callie Reynolds In SaaS (Software as a Service), like in most businesses, sales is king. Sales gets the glory, and while I’d like to say this has…
Customer Experience Design – Make the Customer Know Who You Are
Now that we have helped you become experts in the design of space and function and the design of feelings, it is time to turn our attention to aesthetics, and to connect customer experience…
3 Ways to Get Started Creating Better Employee Experience
Guest Post by Gabe Smith, CCXP The relationship between employee experience and customer experience has long been discussed. Without engaged employees, we’re told, it’s difficult to create great experiences for…
Why BtoB Businesses Need to Think Like BtoC in the Next Decade
According to Gartner at least 80% of BtoB buyers now expect the same buying experience as BtoC customers in 2019. Gone are the days when BtoB organizations did not need…
How Not to Leave Customers Stranded on the Busiest Travel Day of the Year
Meet Diane. She is traveling with her 2 year old and 5 year old to her in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving. This is the one annual trip she has to take….
Culture Is King – The Power Of Employee Engagement
In 2017 we introduced our ROI series recognizing the challenges all customer experience professionals have to obtain funding for CX initiatives and to prove their positive returns. Our second ROI…
Customer Experience Audit: New York Times Beats Google
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. See all audits. The newspaper industry is one of the most disrupted in the past decade. Newspapers…
How to Prepare for AI: Dispatches from CR Summit, Charleston
On the eve of the #CRSummit in Charleston, customer experience leaders from various industries held the first AI Committee meeting. AI is a challenging topic to cover because it has…
Coronavirus Isn’t The Only Thing Killing the Aviation Industry
Eighteen years ago, September 11th caused a three-day halt of the US commercial airlines and resulted in a 31.6% reduction in travel in September 2001 compared to the previous year….
How to Be an Entrepreneur: 5 Things I Learned in 5 Months as an Entrepreneur
The life of an entrepreneur is different every day, but the one thing that remains the same is that we are always learning. These are my lessons in how to…
Why Customers Are Not Responding to Your Customer Experience Survey
When you solicit customer feedback sometimes matters more than how you ask the questions. In the case of a survey about new biometrics boarding initiatives my team and I created for JetBlue, we had a list of feedback that was most important for us.
What is the survey question that will prioritize your #CX roadmap?
As customer experience professionals, we need to factor in this disconnect when we design surveys. And when we react to survey results. Customers have an image of who they want to be. However, their behaviors do not always reflect that image.
Customer Experience Audit: Domino’s Making the Right CX Choices
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audit. See all CX audit stories. Domino’s Pizza made two CX bold moves . They changed a nearly half-century…
From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience
Argyle Journal interviewed Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports. In the below recording Liliana explains how JetBlue addresses the pain points…
Customer Experience Audit: FedEx Omnichannel Disaster
In our Strategy, Org Design & Culture series we cover customer-focused companies that are willing to adapt, take risks and discover new ways of staying relevant. Sometimes, we encounter brands…
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
Customer Experience Tips and Best Practices In 2017?
In Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on customer experience tips, lessons learned, and best practices for the new year on JetBlue, she explores the importance of “keeping the human…
CX Design Makes Form and Function Beautiful – and Cosmopolitan Magazine Notices
At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is…
How a Personal Interaction builds Customer Loyalty
A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).
Healthcare Culture Change Whitepaper: Impact of Patient ‘I Wants’ in Healthcare
Rachel Dreyfus joins The Petrova Experience with a guest blog about healthcare customer experience. Background A culture of positive patient experience is increasingly important in Healthcare, affecting patient outcomes and…
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport conference a few months ago. Although many colleagues chose not…
Hospitality and Why We Lack a Seamless Travel Experience: Lessons from Las Vegas
Hospitality is taken for granted across government agencies, airlines and hotels. In my line of work, I often hear “I want to have the JetBlue customer experience.” Although many claim…
Customer Experience View of your Call Center Technology
By 2022 the global cloud based contact center market is growing from USD 6.8Bn in 2017 to 20.93Bn in 2022. This makes for CAGR of 25.2%. If you do not…
Customer Experience Audit: Starbucks Bets On The Physical Experience
Starbucks is opting in for the physical experience in order to become a lifestyle brand while other brands are investing in omni-channel experience.
Customer Experience Audit: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. See all the audit stories. The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms…
Our Holiday Wishes for Great CX
Every successful customer experience initiative starts with a skilled CX team. Brush up on your CX skills to strengthen the business case for CX; to develop relationships within your organization; and to deliver standout customer experiences in the new year.
CX Bold Moves: JetBlue Paperless And Deviceless Boarding
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of CX Bold Moves. See all the CX Bold Moves stories. This year JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who…
Customer Experience Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. See all audit stories. Two years ago RJ Pittman and eBay made a big bet and made…