Seamless Customer Experience Fail

Here at The Hub, our enthusiasm for technologies which create seamless, delightful customer experiences is heartfelt. After all, we’re consumers too. But sometimes it’s necessary to accentuate the negative, especially when we come across a striking example of how not to do it.

Take my travel experience last week, Europe to United States. It’s my custom to check in online before arriving at the airport, choose the best seat I can find, and print my boarding pass.  This time I was in transit; no easy access to a printer; but I tried checking in on my smartphone. I didn’t want to download an app. I travel often enough, but I use different airlines (and other transport options) and I don’t want all their apps on my phone. So I went to the mobile website.

And it was fine, it really was. I entered my flight details, was invited to check in, and did so. Boarding pass?  No problem, simply have it sent to my phone for scanning at the airport. Except that required downloading the app.

First gripe. If I choose to conduct a transaction on one platform, whether it be a web-site, a mobile site, or an app, don’t send me to a different platform to complete it. I want to choose when, where, and how to do business with you.

So I download the app after all. And despite the opportunities created by deep linking technologies, the app, of course, doesn’t know me from Adam. That’s gripe two: if you insist on redirecting me from one platform to another, don’t force me to begin my transaction all over again (for retail businesses, that means don’t make me search again for the product I’ve already found elsewhere).  

Here we go again. Enter flight details and search. And there’s my boarding pass. I just need to open that up again when I go to security, and all’s well.  But it’s not, of course.

I don’t mean to beat up on this one major airline, because these problems may be widespread. But I can’t conceal its identity on the screenshot here. That’s what I got on arrival at the airport (with and without the airport wifi connection). So there was no opening the phone version of the boarding pass.

This wasn’t, as far as I can see, the airline’s fault, but it is a known issue with iPhone apps. There seem to be workarounds, but I preferred to catch my flight than do online research into fixing the problem. What did I do?  I found the airline desk, stood in line, and received a paper copy of a boarding pass from a human being. Gripe number three: the basic technology has to work, and work reliably.

And then I deleted the app.

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