A Tale Of Two Experiences

A Tale Of Two Experiences

A Tale Of Two Experiences


We all know that customer experience is key. It has an impact on whether a customer will return, how they feel about their experience, what they’ll tell others. That word of mouth, which we know is so incredibly important for reputation and brand.

Customer experience is 20% process and 80% how you show up in the process.

Over the past few weeks I’ve done a lot of travelling. Every time I go to the airport, and I go through the security screening, I always set the metal detector off because I’ve got some metal additions to my body.

I know what to expect.

Now in Adelaide, I went through the screening and, of course, that happened.  I had already taken off my belt, my shoes, my jacket and unpacked my laptop. That’s all sitting on the conveyor belt.

I was asked to step to the side, which I did, and a female security officer was called over. She came over and she had a lovely big smile on her face. She asked me how my day was, and then she complimented me on my dress. She said, “I love your dress.”

Immediately we had a connection. She was treating me like a person, like an individual, which was really nice. We had a chat as I stood there, you know, with my feet slightly apart and my arms out to the side. She said, “Oh, you’ve done this before.” The connection was continued. She asked me about my surgery as she was, of course, doing her job. Using the metal detector wand and patting me down whenever it beeped.

But it was fine, you know? It was no problem. I know that’s her job. She was lovely, friendly and warm. Once that process had been finished, I went back to the conveyor belt. I put my belt back on, and I put my shoes back on, and I packed up my laptop. I carried on, and I had a smile on my face. It was great.

Now, earlier in the week I had been at a different airport. I was at Brisbane airport and exactly the same thing happened. I took my belt off. I took my shoes off. I unpacked my laptop. I put it all through the conveyor and then I walked through the metal detector, and of course, I set it off. Again, I was asked to step to the side and a female security officer was called over. She didn’t say anything except ‘step on the mat, feet apart, arms to the side’, which I did. She carried out the wand.

She was very invasive in how she patted me down. She kept me there for a really long time. Then she asked me to sit down in a chair and told me that I hadn’t been cleared. Then she wanted to screen the bottom of my feet and do a few other checks.

Meanwhile my gear is still sitting on the conveyor. At this point, I was feeling a bit of like a criminal because she had this scowl on her face whenever she looked at me, and she was doing a far more extensive check than I’ve ever had before. I half expected to be detained.

Then she decided that she would call her colleague over and they would do a bomb detection test as well.

I leaned to the side so that I could see my laptop, which is still sitting on the conveyor. At which point she said that I wasn’t allowed to move, and I had not been cleared from the security area. I have to say; I wasn’t really happy. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was compliant with all the instructions. There was no reason to speak to me so abruptly. I just wanted to make sure my laptop was still there.

She seemed like she was in a really bad mood, and she made me feel like I had done something very wrong.

I share these two experiences because the process is exactly the same. The purpose of the individual’s roles is exactly the same. But the difference in terms of how they showed up and how they interacted with me during that process was… Well, it was just remarkably different. One experience, I was quite happy to be part of it. I know it’s part of the job and it was absolutely fine, and you know, quite a fun moment in my day. But the other experience, I felt horrible. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I’ve got to be honest and say I’m really not looking forward to going back to Brisbane airport!

Why do I share this with you? Because the way you show up really impacts the experience that people have. Whether you are a customer, whether you are a colleague, it’s impactful.

If you want to create connection, if you want to have people have a positive experience of you, then think about what you need to do to make that happen.

Maya Angelou said, “People don’t remember what you said. People don’t remember what you did. They remember how you made them feel.”

For customer experience and colleague experience, this is so very true.

What is the experience that you want the people around you to have of you?

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