Today I checked in for my Wednesday flight to Brisbane, all while drinking tea and waiting for my work PC to boot up.
Thanks to an email from my airline of choice, I was able to click on a link in the email, confirm my seat and mobile phone number. I then received my boarding pass via text message. I loaded my boarding pass into my Passbook on my iphone and I was done. All in under 3 minutes.
Sadly the last time I used a boarding pass on my phone, when I got to the gate I was given a paper boarding pass (which seemed to me defeated the object of the paperless exercise). I’m hopeful this time I won’t end up with another boarding pass bookmark.
Some people would not be comfortable with the idea of a virtual boarding pass and I respect that. There are times when dealing with a person is just what you want. For me having the option is what I want. For a relatively quick and easy flight to Brisbane, with no need to have my passport checked doing it by phone makes my life easier but I know for some people talking to a real person makes their life easier.
The way I see it, if I check in on the phone, then the line for people who want to deal with a real person at the airport is shorter and they can served much more quickly. That way we all win. People who need extra help can get it, but that is if there are people to speak to.
By now dear reader you know I love technology, but there are times when people are just fabulous and just what someone needs. As many companies move their services and information online, they fail to remember that sometimes a person needs to speak to another person.
Technology can sometimes cause more problems that it fixes, if not done right and at the expense of good service. Often people are left feeling they have no choice and are forced to use a tool they are not comfortable with and this makes for an unhappy customer experience.
Good customer service is about being responsive, not just to the people who make it cheaper and easier for you by doing it all online. Your online customers should ideally (some might say idealistically) mean your staff have more time to deal with customers face to face. But, dear reader, I’m smart enough to know that this is rarely the case. We are being pushed online more and more, and for those of use who speak the language, can read the map and have the latest gadgets we will be fine. But I know that other will struggle and be frustrated, and I hope that businesses will learn to be responsive and flexible in how we get service and they get our money and let one person speak to another person face to face.