The best customer experience: no human involved

It’s something I noticed especially when traveling. Whenever I think “wow that went smoothly” or the opposite “why does this always have to be such a struggle,” it boils down to “are humans involved?” — directly impacting on the overall customer experience.

Hotel check-ins are customer experience suckers #1. You make your reservation online, provide everything from your name to credit card information, and then when arriving at the hotel, you have to give the same information again. Including writing down your phone and email address on which you already received an Apple Wallet confirmation that turns out to be completely useless.

But it can be different. Take the Hertz car rental customer experience at most large airports. Make your reservation online, and when you arrive at your destination, you have e an email in your inbox with a stall number. There you find your car with the keys already in the ignition, drive to the exit, validate your credit card, and done. No queue, no waiting, no need to provide the information you already provided. And: almost no human interaction.

Hertz customer experience at kiosk.

And Hertz knows their customers love this experience. Last December they announced taking it even further: no more handing in your credit card, no: facial recognition and finger prints at the exit terminal, a quick smile and your done.

Customer experience is a hot topic in most industries, especially in the travel, tourism and hospitality branch. Is their solution removing the human worker?

Humans bring something: the personal touch, the personality. And in the end, I don’t believe it is the person to blame when you have a bad customer experience, or a check-in that seems to take forever. Most of the time it’s their system and process. And that is something technology can and should fix. We have to develop more systems and tools that enable the smooth experience and let humans be human, instead of the perceived show stopper. Not apps and tools for the sake of internal optimization, but apps and devices in the hands of people to enable them, not to be an annoyance.

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