Destination North Star

They say Customer Experience is the North Star. Lucky the train I boarded wasn't heading in that direction or we might not have ever got there.

I am judging this on the basis of their attempts at humanising and expressing their intent to be a truly first class travel service operator.

I’m going to be kind here and not name the train company. Or the route.

But let’s say it was headed out of St Pancras a few weekends ago when I boarded one sunny afternoon to get an up close and personal experience at their attempts to really connect with the travelling public.

I can recall the announcement word for badly written word.

“Good afternoon. I’m your travel assistant for the journey. I’m here to deliver a first class customer experience. I will be flourishing you with a service that makes us truly first in class. If anybody on the train is acting nefariously I would be grateful if you could let me know. In the meantime our selection of hot and cold food is offered to you as the best retail price.”

I’m glad he told me to expect to get flourished. I wish he had explained what nefarious meant. And what a relief it was at a retail and not a wholesale price.

Come on brands. It’s great that you try but you need to try harder. Just talk to me as you would sitting opposite me on that train. Offer me a drink. Tell me you want to help. Reassure me that if there are any idiots on board you will deal with it. And make me feel ok about the price I paid for the journey and the packet of crisps I want to eat whilst getting there.

We don’t need to make this hard. And we certainly shouldn't make it painful.

Stop thinking about Customer Experience as being an unattainable goal somewhere in the distance that only the bravest and boldest get to. It’s not. It’s the here and now of transactions and interactions with the customers you have worked hard to bring to your business. Marketing may becoming more redundant as a term on a daily basis but the essence of giving people something they want or need hasn’t changed at all.