Tag Archives: travel & tourism customer experience

Small changes can make a big difference to customer experience

5 Sep

Credit Card Machine

I paid for a train ticket over the counter yesterday. As I completed the transaction I nearly walked off leaving my Debit card in the PIN machine. As I turned back to the machine to retrieve the card the chap behind the counter said something along the lines of, “That was lucky. We’ve already had three people leave their cards here this morning.”

Three people, this morning, have walked away leaving their card in the machine. Can you imagine arriving for a day in London and realising you’ve left your Debit card somewhere? Pretty stressful huh?

If your customers are suffering – take action

So having already experienced people leaving their cards, would it not be courteous to remind customers to remove their cards after the transaction?

Since Chip & PIN, all organisations have had to invest heavily in installing new equipment to cater to the new technology. However, I can’t help but ask myself if some of this technology either hasn’t been thought through properly, or is not being used properly.

Technology shouldn’t create customer experience issues

If the staff working behind a counter are unable to see the Chip & PIN machine it would be useful for their screen to inform them that the card has not been removed. They can then prompt the customer. Like most ‘simple’ fixes, it becomes less simple to fix once the technology is complete.

If the full customer journey and scenarios are planned and mapped out prior to build, these minor details will be catered for. And if customers are introduced to the project early, to test a prototype, the barriers will be highlight and dealt with before these ‘simple’ issues become costly fixes.

Do you involve customers in your project process early enough?

Related services: Customer Journey Mapping and Usability Evaluation & Testing

 

 

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Ali Carmichael

About Ali Carmichael

Ali (or Alasdair) is an experienced project manager who loves his Gantt charts and milestones! He has over 12 years' experience managing successful online experiences for world class brands. Ali is responsible for ensuring our clients love what we do for them. Follow Ali on twitter @AliJCarmichael

Why don’t high street travel agents inspire customers?

14 Jul

Travel Agent Customer Experience

My girlfriend and I always seem to have real trouble finding a holiday, mainly because the brochures never seem to tell us what we actually want to know, like is the resort likely to be full of Brits abroad, Irish Pubs and McDonalds or can we find a bit of traditional food and culture here.

This time we decided to go for the easier route. So we decided on a budget, we picked a couple of dates we could both do and we set off to our local travel agent. Excited, we sat down in front of a friendly travel consultant and announced that we wanted a holiday in a quiet resort, self-catering, with a pool, around the first two weeks in September. We looked at the travel agent expectantly, she responded with a tired look and asked which resort and apartments we wanted to go to. Right here is where my experience breaks down, and I’m sure so does the experience for many other customers.

Improving travel agent customer experience is key to survival

I don’t want to have to paw through several brochures reading the same old marketing speak which makes every resort sound the same. I want to go to a ‘consultant’ for inspiration and advice. How hard can it be to recommend a quiet resort with self catering? I appreciate there are hundreds, but that’s what you get paid for isn’t it? Otherwise I can do all this independently on the internet and cut you guys out of the picture. Oh wait, that’s what consumers are doing.

For some time now industry experts have predicted the death of the high street travel agent. The stats seem to agree, with one report suggestion that only 7% of us are using the high street to book holidays abroad. If they are to survive, particularly in an uncertain economic climate, travel agents must provide an experience to really compete with the online channel.

The current in-store customer experience only works when customers know exactly what they want

Many of the high-street retail staff are called ‘travel consultants’. A dictionary definition of a consultant is “one who gives expert or professional advice” which is not the experience customers are offered when they are unsure where to go. Instead, they’re handed brochures, told to choose a resort and a couple of hotels and then come back. This places the travel consultant more in the role of a glorified booking agent.

High street travel agents need to adopt a more active role in recommending and inspiring

To improve customer experience travel agents need to be trained to recognise the customers need and provide a service that matches. When customers have vague ideas of what they want, travel agents should recognise the need to play a more inspirational role to match the customer needs to a few different choices and guide them through the process to make a final decision. It’s no surprise that they are losing potential customers to online agents when customers are forced to research the holidays themselves.

Are you responding to your customers needs?

 

Related services: Customer requirements capture, and Customer experience research

 

 

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Damian Rees

About Damian Rees

Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees

Multi-channel retail experiences don't live up to expectations

20 Mar

multi-channel retail experiences

Within the retail market there is a lot of talk about Multi-Channel, where services are provided via multiple touchpoints. Most commonly, this refers to a website and a shop floor. So it was interesting to see that one of the UKs largest retailers is still experiencing gaps between what it offers in-store, what it promotes online, and what level of understanding its staff has.

This example was experienced as a bit of research I was undertaking to review the online experience of buying an affordable suit. I was testing the website, but as part of the user journey I needed to visit the store to reach my goal. Here’s what happened:

The website promoted a suit, shirt and tie combo for £32, which was exactly what my user profile was looking for but it wasn’t available to buy on-line. My user profile was not fond of shopping, and certainly didn’t want to go all the way to the store only to find they had no stock. So I called my local branch. The polite lady that I spoke to was not aware of such a combo offer, and informed me that their in-store stock was often different to that on the website. So my journey ended there and I hadn’t reached my goal. Well, out of character, I decided to pop into the store to have a look for myself. And guess what? I found a suit for £26, a shirt for £4, and a tie for £3. A suit, shirt and tie combo for £32.

So what has happened here? If your retail website does not allow you to buy the products online, then users will expect them to be available in store, and will also expect that when you mention the online products to the sales assistants then they will know what it is you are referring to. The key mistake made in this is example is that the retailer did not provide sufficient information and training to its in-store staff about the products and promotions currently live on the website. The impact of this is a potential online customer, happy to buy in store, is let down when he crosses channels. The retailer loses out on a sale, and the customer has to begin their journey again and go elsewhere.

Successful companies will need to provide its services across multiple touchpoints (shop floor, web site, call centre, brochure, etc.), but those that will come out on top will review all their touchpoints together as one solution and roll out each channel to provide a consistent experience and enhance the customer journey.

Is your multi-channel experience consistent across all your touchpoints?

Related services: Customer Experience Research, User Experience Audit, and Customer Journey Mapping

 

 

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Ali Carmichael

About Ali Carmichael

Ali (or Alasdair) is an experienced project manager who loves his Gantt charts and milestones! He has over 12 years' experience managing successful online experiences for world class brands. Ali is responsible for ensuring our clients love what we do for them. Follow Ali on twitter @AliJCarmichael