When you mention process a lot of people are immediately turned off. It is not one of the sexy words used in business and it can seem cold or boring. To top it off, most people probably think about process when it comes to bad experiences. The Harvard Business Review Ideacast gave a great example of one of these experiences here.
To sum up the example from the HBR Ideacast, there is a woman by the name of Sarah. She has a flight to go to a conference overseas, but she becomes very ill and cannot make her flight. She calls the airline and informs them of the situation and the airline tells her to get a doctors note and they will waive the fee.
A couple days later Sarah still feels ill, but she has to leave anyway. Sarah calls to re-book and the fee is waived, but the flight is of course, thousands of dollars. While it is very frustrating, Sarah figures it out anyway and books her flight.
Packing her bags, Sarah becomes curious about what she could have changed, so she asks the airline and they reply “we just suggest you make the flight”.
Wow. I cannot think of a world where having someone who is severely sick on a plane makes sense. Its a bad experience for the individual who is sick, passengers around her, and all the people who become sick as a result.
Now, I am not going to say the cost of the ticket was outrageous, but the information could have been delivered initially. If the airline had a process that was derived from understanding the customer, they would know what most customers care about.
- When can I get where I need to go
- How much will it cost
Sure, there are other factors. However, when most people go to book a flight, these are the first two things they look at. All it would take to improve the customer experience is a process that says:
If a customer needs to re-book a flight make sure to inform them of:
- When the next flights are (and availability)
- Cost of the flights on the date the individual plans to re-book
Now Sarah would have enough information to at least make an informed decision and an expectation is set. Whether she used a different airline, rescheduled her trip, or tried to negotiate pricing she has options in front of her.
The point is, all it took to give Sarah a better experience was a process created from understanding the customer. If you do not have a process in place, you cannot have any expectation for experience or results.
You need a process for everything and even a process for items that circumvent that process.