Lessons in Customer Experience (CX) from the Denver Blizzard of 2016

Missed Opportunities

United Airlines | Club

The United club hours are typically 5AM – 10PM or so. I have enjoyed the perk of my loyalty and credit card benefits within the spectrum of these hours.  However, after taking a walk about and coming back to the club at 3PM I saw a sign indicating the club would be closed at 5PM.  Closing at 5PM, during a blizzard, when the airport is shutdown, the club is packed and the expected experience for most of us was scrambling to a hotel or, as I witnessed the next morning, sleeping on the floor. I am sure there is a reason, though I am unsure I will accept it, that they needed to close at all, nevertheless 5 hours premature.  But the missed opportunities for delight and surprise are vast and obvious.  I can’t even begin to list them here for fear of seeming petty and obvious.  And I am a loyalist – I wonder how others cataloged this experience, subconsciously or not.

Uber | don’t gouge your customers

I was one of the first 100 Uber accounts in Boston.  I convinced my company to accept Uber as a viable alternative to taxi’s – using math to prove the value.  I even had a sorted, but positive experience with Uber the night before which I wrote about above.  And yet, I awoke early in the darkness to get to the airport – knowing the security and traffic would be challenging.  I signed up for the hotel shuttle an hour earlier than one would logically have done under normal situations.  And, the shuttle was late, because the road conditions were terrible.  So I explored Uber, at 5.45 AM – met with 5.5 surge pricing and a min fare of 120$.  This didn’t endear me to their brand.

Closing Thoughts

If your brand is doing well with CX on a day to day basis, good for you.  Most brands aren’t. So here’s an alternative way to get some muscle memory.  Capitalize on ‘in the moment’ opportunities with your customers.  Not every relevant CX moment is based on having been planned out. And not every ‘in the moment’ opportunity needs to be a Denver Blizzard. Most often it has to do with generating a culture and empowerment layer in your organization that says ‘We’d rather error on the side of helping our fellow human being, than showing a spreadsheet that shows minuscule growth over days – aim for percentage point growth over quarters.