Tom Garrity

Archive for 2018|Yearly archive page

Crankshaft

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2018 at 5:10 pm

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My dad enjoys reading the newspaper.  It is part of his morning ritual.

Thumbing through the news of the day he heads to the sports page. Soon there after he will grouse about the success or failure of his Notre Dame Irish and whichever Houston sports franchise is playing.

Then, he gets quiet.  Occasionally a chuckle, other times outright laughter.  He reads through the comics like a bookie studies a racing form.  The frames of humorous wisdom helps dad make sense of the world.

IMG_8228Once, a long time ago, after I graduated from TCU. I commented about the Crankshaft cartoons. According to Wikipedia, “Crankshaft is an eponymous comic strip about an elderly, curmudgeonly school bus driver which debuted on June 8, 1987.”

I must have been an early adopter because I’ve been reading the comic strip since 1987.  But, I’ve never purchased a newspaper with Crankshaft on its pages.  My dad, remembering the comic strip comment has made saving the daily muse a part of his morning ritual.

As a result, whenever I head to Houston to visit, I have a stack of comic strips to catch up IMG_8226on when I get back to Albuquerque.

Funny, I let my dad know that he didn’t need to clip those out for me.  Gosh, it has been 20 years now?  He says he doesn’t mind.

And now in my later years, I “get it.” Clipping the comics provides a way for him to connect with me each day, even though I am not in his immediate presence.

Today, I went through another collection of Crankshaft comics.  A stack that was procured during my last trip to Houston.

He wasn’t with me in Albuquerque, but I could sure hear his laugh as I read through the comics.

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Resetting the customer experience

In Messaging, Reputation on January 30, 2018 at 5:12 pm

IMG_8027A client of mine tells his staff “everyone is going to make mistakes, its how you respond to those times that matter.”

In essence, it is a primer for crisis communications 101.

Putting a twist on my client’s words, when things go wrong, and they will, every organization has a chance to reset the customer experience.

The airline industry is a place where you see customer expectations fall short on a regular basis.  It just happens.  We’ve all seen how airlines have, and have not, done a good job resetting the customer experience.

When twitter was in its infancy, I groused about the Delta Airlines boarding process and how their many different “zones” reminded me of Dante’s Inferno.  The person who handled the airline social media account reached out and said my tweet was making the rounds.  That’s nice. But, for the most part, nothing has changed.

United Airlines flight attendants just looked at me with puppy dog eyes when someone who really needed two seats was doing what he could to fit into one seat.  I raised the arm rest and commented “come on in the water is fine.” I then sat through the next two and a half hours contorted in my seat trying to do my best to give my seat mate “space”.

On another United flight, I gave up my window seat so a family could sit together.  The attendants rewarded me with an emergency exit row to myself.  That was nice.

American Airlines… don’t get me started.

But Southwest Airlines, in the spirit of full disclosure I was an A-List member, has found a way to master resetting customer expectations. My flight yesterday (documented on Instagram Stories) was scheduled to be five and a half hours.  Because of mechanical issues with the airplane, it ended up being closer to a ten hour trip.

It was just one of those days that the word “delay” was in play… all day!

The apologies from the pilot and flight attendants were nice.  Lord knows they also wanted to have the never-ending flight end.

But, this morning, at the top of my email was a message from “Allison” with the Proactive Customer Communications team.  Her message went like this… I’m so sorry for the delay you experienced in Phoenix yesterday due to an unexpected maintenance issue.  [yada yada yada] We would like to invite you back for a more pleasant travel experience.  In this spirit I’m sending you a LUV Voucher that can be applied as a form of payment toward a new Southwest reservation.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard another flight in the near future.

In the words of Emeril John Lagasse III “BAM!”

That is how you reset the customer experience.  It wasn’t the voucher, don’t get me wrong, that’s nice.  It was the follow through.