Transport Disruption – Has your customer experience and reputation weathered storm Angus?

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Our transport infrastructure has taken a battering over the last week, but does this mean that great customer service gets blown away?

Bad weather is a force of nature and one we can’t control, but the way our transport operators prepare themselves and their people can either enhance your brand and customer loyalty or destroy trust and customer advocacy.

Research shows that if organisations react quickly and positively to a negative or disruptive situation, customers will forgive more easily and it may even increase their loyalty to that brand.   So, every disruption to our travel is an opportunity to delight our customers and exceed their expectations.    

I’m not talking big things here, let me give you a couple of small, easy to fix examples that would have made my disrupted journey a lot more palatable and would have enhanced my opinion of the organisation.

I was due to fly home from Amsterdam when my flight showed delay and then after no information, was cancelled due to a mechanical fault.    We all know this happens from time to time, but the lack of any information, lack of visible and accessible employees, made the experience frustrating, leaving customers feeling helpless and angry.   I heard more than one person rename the airline ‘flymaybe or maybenot’.  Not what you’d want when you’ve spent ££££ painting the logo on every moving thing.  

I know, from my previous rail experience that ‘passenger information during disruption’ is a big thing and many train operators have addressed this by issuing smart devices so their people can access timely information, but unless your people are engaged and involved in making the customer experience positively memorable, it’s a waste of money.     Research shows that during disruption employees feel unprepared, under confident, unable to deal with frustrated passengers and helpless because they don’t have authority to organise solutions.    But all isn’t lost, here 5 things that you can do to help you weather the next storm and make the customer experience a positively memorable one….

  1. Go back to basics and embed your values and customer proposition in everything you do, from recruitment, development, recognition to disruption training. This way your people will have a framework to work within and one they can use to make decisions and behave in the right way.
  2. Trust your people and empower them to make decisions which will exceed the customers’ expectations, which, let’s be honest, won’t be very high. This could be authority to organise cab, booking hotel rooms or organising refreshments.     The cost is minor in comparison to the damage you’re doing to your reputation by not empowering your people.
  3. Train your people to deal with disruption. Customer service doesn’t go out of the window under pressure, it must go up a gear.   Training will build confidence and empathy with customers, enable them to diffuse situations and deal with conflict quickly.  To be visible and keep customers informed, even if there’s nothing to update on.   Silence is not golden in this instance!
  4. Use disruption experience rooms to highlight customer emotions and needs, to deepen understanding and knowledge. To create empathy and putting your people in the shoes of the customer.
  5. Do a full evaluation after the disruption, gathering insight and lessons learnt from all areas of the business, but essentially from your customers and front line teams. Learn from mistakes and build a plan of continuous improvement.
  6. Recognise people who have gone beyond the call of duty and use these people as mentors to others and great role models.

We’ve had lots of experience in developing customer experience programmes and so If you need any more information or ideas on how you can improve your customer experience and increase your net promoter score through development interventions please get in touch.