I have a tale to tell about an experience that gave my confidence in people’s goodness and honesty a booster shot on the one hand, but on the other highlights a huge missed opportunity from a brand perspective… A great learning opportunity as situations like these could present themselves in my and your own business!
I flew back to Cape Town, the most beautiful of Mother Cities, last night and on disembarking was preoccupied with thoughts of having to catch a reliable taxi to my car, which was parked elsewhere in the vicinity of the airport. This exercise went off without a hitch and I was happily setting off in my own car when my cell phone rang. Thinking it was my hubby doing a quick check if I was okay; I took the call and was surprised by a personal greeting from an extremely friendly and professional female voice. After confirming that it was indeed me and that yes, I had just disembarked from a flight; she asked if I wasn’t missing anything. I was about to respond that I had all my things with me, when it hit me that I never took my Tablet from the seat pocket. She said that it had been handed in and I should come back to where I had come from (?), where I would find the airline’s lost baggage office and that they were open until 22h00. So far so good, it sounded easy as pie – great experience, no superb experience thus far!
A U-turn ensued, a bit of getting lost due to signage free roads, parking at R16/hour, a brisk walk to where I understood I needed to be, only to be informed by 2 Security Guards that I actually needed to go to where I had come from where I would find an Info Kiosk. At this kiosk, I needed to explain my dilemma and I would be issued with a ticket. I duly did this and made my way back to the Security Guards only to be directed to another security entrance. After signing of the visitors’ book, passing through the security checkpoint and another long walk, I finally arrived at the airline’s lost baggage office. Superb experience diluted to annoying experience at this stage, but I was still happy about the find.
A missed opportunity
The counter was divided by a pillar, with 2 female staff members seated on the one side and a young male staff member on the other. I announced who I was and that I was there to collect my Tablet. Crash, Boom, Bang… Thud. Nothing. No recognition by the young lady who minutes before had been so brilliant on the phone. No enthusiasm about the brilliance of being reunited with something valuable. Zero eye contact and zero interaction from the young male staff member who was only concerned about filling in a tatty looking form book. On leaving, the two female staff members were busy eating and could only get a muffled greeting out of mouths which were too busy chewing.
I have hope for a different world… Imagine I had been told on the phone that I needed to go to the Info Kiosk first in order to be issued with the ticket that would allow me entry back into the arrivals hall. Imagine I had been told that the lost baggage office was next to the baggage carousel in the arrivals hall. Imagine, on my arrival at the counter, the staff member who had made the call, stood up from behind the counter, acknowledged me and introduced herself. Imagine she took ownership and used the opportunity to emphasize how her airline cared about its passengers and their belongings. Imagine, the brand building opportunity! Imagine the impact! Imagine the story I could have told! Instead, my story, based on my experience, is bitter-sweet.
This particular counter obviously deals with hundreds of lost items that have to be retrieved and hundreds of opportunities to create serious brand ambassadors. Instead minute by minute, there are lost opportunities.
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Have you had similar experiences? Please feel free to share your experience.