Planes, Pains and Automobiles

I promised an update on my adventure trying to get to Nebraska, so here it is. It seemed, at times, like we were shooting the sequel to the Steve Martin/John Candy classic.

In November, that movie will be 20 years old. Not much about business travel has changed since then.

My luggage, which I hadn’t seen since Sunday arrived home last night (Wednesday), 24 hours after I did, so the story is now complete. Without going into too much detail – my client and I endured a flight cancellation, three hours after scheduled departure (it was supposed to be a 2 hour non-stop). We ended up flying to Minneapolis on a delayed flight, getting in after Midnight. After a few hours in a hotel, we flew early morning to Sioux Falls and then drove 3 1/2 hours to Lincoln, forced to attempt an all-day meeting in less than two hours, followed by a shopping trip for clothes and other essentials. Those are the basics.

Without all of the typical detail of the customer service issues we encountered, I want to highlight positives and lesson learned of communications and service.

National Car Rental‘s superior attention to my needs enabled us to even get to Lincoln at all. They were flexible and understanding and best of all, their phone representative actually listened and didn’t just recite policy. The Men’s Wearhouse, as promised in their commerical, took care of me. They had me wardrobed, tailored and out of the store in about 1/2 hour. Best of all, their staff seemed like they really wanted to help a customer in need.

There was a price to be paid for service – but value was absolutely received in return.

I urge everyone in a service business (and most of us are) to remember your “trips from hell.” How did you want to be treated? Did anybody actually treat you that way? If so, that’s how you should communicate with your customers every day.