I’ve just come back from delivering some training in Italy. I flew out of Bristol Airport and a few weeks prior to my trip I booked on-line to use the long stay car park opposite the terminal. On arrival at the car park I put in my credit card. The barrier lifted and I found a place to park my car. I then grabbed my luggage and walked over to the terminal and checked myself in with the terminal and e-ticket.  On returning to my car after the trip I drove to the exit, placed my credit card in the machine again (which recognised my booking) the barrier lifted and I drove home. All easy and painless.

The day after my trip I get a customer service questionnaire email from Bristol Airport. But I didn’t interact with any people at Bristol Airport. And customer service is all about people interacting with people, isn’t it? The whole system has been designed to take people (cost) out of the process. So why ask me about my customer service experience? Why ask me if it would make me use Bristol Aiport again. (Like I have much of a choice as it’s the nearest one to me). I’ve used Bristol Airport before and know what to expect. So it “met my expectations” but “what can we do to exceed your expectations?” doesn’t really make sense here, does it?(You can leave your ideas and comments below)

I’m all for getting (and giving) customer feedback. But if I didn’t interact with any staff – does this sort of questionnaire make sense? If I am unhappy and will never use Bristol Airport Car Park again – what are they going to do? Give the software, terminals and barrier a poor annual performance review?

I appreciate that we can only improve what is measured. But, let’s make sure we are measuring the right things eh?

6 Responses to “Please stop automating customer service”

  • Phil:

    I’m sure it happens a lot that maybe you are unahppy with an aspect of a service but that experience stays with you and never makes it way back to the source because for one reason or another you don’t actually feed info that back into the system.

    At least with a questionnaire you have an opportunity to do so. Perhaps the problem is not the process itself but the questions they asked you?

  • Trevor:

    Phil – my experience with the Airport was pretty positive. Yes, I think you are right in that the questions could have been better.

  • Mark:

    This makes me think about all those self service check out machines in supermarkets. Will HR be writing KPIs for them in future? Or will HR start to give all the terminals human names, so they can justify their existence in the absence of the ‘human’ part of their ‘resource’ role?

    I think the Bristol Airport experience there, shows how generic the companys’ ‘care’ about visitors and users are. 1 form fits all humanity? Apparently so.

  • Trevor:

    Automated supermarket checkouts! …. ugh, don’t get me started.

  • Graham:

    I whole heartedly agree Trevor – good point – clearly made.. You should send the contracted out parking management team a link to your blog as a way they can improve the customer experience :-)

  • Trevor:

    Thanks for the comment Graham. I was thinking of doing that…

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