The way to a Customer’s Heart…. is through a Customer’s Heart
The Airport is Emotional
The airport creates emotions. Doesn’t it seem like everyone at the airport is in some heightened emotional state?
It’s inevitable really:
- Parents dropping kids off for college…
- Couples heading out on their honeymoon…
- Wife picking up her husband from a sales trip…
- Kids heading out to backpack across Europe…
- Families relocating for a new job…
Positive or negative, if you have travelled then you can inherently feel the emotions evoked by these situations.
The airport is emotional.
I was the airport today.
I was watching a traveller.
She was by herself.
Well dressed, composed, hesitant, middle aged.
Two large suitcases.
She was in a heightened emotional state.
As she approached the check-in line a WestJet attendant asked her if she would like to try the self-serve kiosk.
I would like to try. But only if somebody could help.
Her voice was just above a whisper.
The airport was noisy.
The young attendant leaned in to listen. He smiled warmly, his face softened. He touched her elbow and gently guided her to a kiosk.
My boy grabbed my elbow, “Daddy, I have to PEE!!”
Identifying urgent over interesting I walked away with my boy.
Minor Action, Major Impact
By the time I got back the traveller was checked in to her flight, her bags tagged, her face relaxed, her body language at ease.
I’m sure for the WestJet employees this was a minor interaction, just one of a hundred they would have today. For the traveller this was a big deal.
Experiences are emotional.
Airports are emotional.
That makes airports fertile ground for experiences.
Experiences are emotional.
Think of any recent experience: the deeper the emotions it evoked in you, the more you experienced it.Either positively or negatively, the more you felt it the more you experienced it.
Unemotional impassive events don’t register with us; they blend together into a dull tableau and eventually fade into the background of our lives.
But experiences – real experiences – leave us with a taste, a feeling, an indelible imprint on our very beings. They become a part of us.
The Way to a Customer’s Heart
Now what does this have to do with a WestJet attendant assisting a solo traveller?
When they first engaged she was in a heightened emotional state: nervous, tentative, unsettled.
When they parted she was happy and relaxed.
The attendant offered a mechanical solution to a mechanical problem, but in the process he also gave her resolution to her emotional uncertainty.
Honor the Emotional Crossroads
This traveller was at an emotional crossroad.
But with a few authentically caring actions, an employee charted her emotional experience of the airport for that day.
And likely ensured her next flight would also be on WestJet.
You can’t fake that stuff.
The way to a customer’s heart….
is through a customer’s heart.