If you took a flight anytime during 2016, you understand how much of a pain in the neck it has become to fly. Some airports are much better than others, but my home airport in Seattle has terribly long lines to get through security. Sometimes you have to get there two hours ahead of time and barely make your flight, but other times you can zip through security and spend two hours waiting to board your flight. I thought I would apply for TSA pre-check to eliminate the process.
Do you know TSA-Precheck? You go through a back ground check and what not, pay $85, and in return, you do not have to wait in the long lines at the airport. You begin with an online application. The second part of the process requires you to be in person at one of the screening locations. Since I live in a remote area, it took me two hours to get to a location to get the back ground check.
I had an awkward experience during the TSA Precheck process, which is the basis for this episode.
There is no excuse for a customer having an awkward experience with you. You should know the exact experience your customer is going through. The only way to truly know what your customer experiences is to have the experience of your customer.
You have to know what it is like to do business with yourself. You may feel your training has been effective. Or your policies and procedures are working just fine, but you never know how it looks and feels from the customer’s side of the counter until you have stood there yourself.
And things you may not think are a big deal, can certainly turn out to be a big deal. So I had to stand awkwardly at the counter for a couple of minutes before anyone acknowledged me, even though there was someone right there at the desk. No big deal, right? The lady who helped me had an attitude like I was an inconvenience. In the big picture, does this really matter? Maybe the bathroom is dirty, or you hung up a paper sign three weeks ago, and it is all tattered and beaten up now. Does it matter?
All of these things matter.
But this also takes me to a third aspect; we have talked big business, we have talked small business, but what if you are so small, you are the business. This is the case with me. I am the business, I am the one who hosts podcasts, writes copy, or does the consulting. People are working directly with me, so how can I find out what it is like to do business with me? Even if I asked my next door neighbor or my cousin to work with me and tell me about the experience, I would likely treat them differently and make sure I did everything the best I could. So how do you handle it?
For starters, treat everyone like they are your friend, neighbor, or cousin when you do business with them. Everyone is important, and if you act as such, you will not have many problems, unless they ask to sleep on your couch. The other thing you do is ask for feedback. And be open to feedback.
Here are the three things I want you to remember from this episode about improving customer service and experience;