I’ve been on the move a lot the past few months and find myself multiple times a day waiting to enter one parking area or another.  There’s always a gate with a button that you push to speak to a Disembodied Voice.  The Disembodied Voice has all the power in these moments…will they or won’t they ‘authorize’ me to enter the parking area so that I can be on time for my meeting.

I’ve noticed a trend that has started to irritate me…this is always a signal that I should update my blog  😉 …it’s a sort of before and after phenomenon.  Once I’ve pushed the intercom button, the customer experience goes something like this:

Disembodied Voice: (Insert big import company name here in important-sounding tone)…

Me: Hi, Kathy van de Laar, I’m here to inspire people to deliver the right customer experience (I usually leave that last part out but sometimes I like messing with people)

Disembodied Voice:  One moment please….(tick tock, suspense builds as I await my judgment)

Me: (I usually take this pause in my day to check my email, it’s surprisingly efficient as one never knows how long one will be kept waiting)

Disembodied Voice:  “Welcome Mrs. Van de Laar!”

This process is surprisingly consistent across most parking gates.  I always wonder why I am not welcomed when the Disembodied Voice first speaks to me.  It is a small scale example of how process comes before customer experience.  I have the idea that Disembodied Voices everywhere are trained to check whether guests are registered before they are welcome instead of welcoming everyone and then checking the status of their registration.

Call me crazy but: why can’t this experience be more friendly?  The Disembodied Voice is my first contact with the company when I arrive on site.  Why can’t I be welcomed first, verified second and allowed entry third?  In my parallel universe, the experience would be something like this:

Disembodied Voice: Welcome to <great big important company>.   I’m Cindy!

Me:  Hi, I’m Kathy van de Laar. I’m very happy to be here today, Cindy!

Disembodied Voice:  That’s great Kathy.  Let me just check to see if you’re on the list today!

Me:  Super good Cindy!  I’ll just check my email while I wait!

Disembodied Voice:  Kathy, I’ve got great news! You’re in! Drive through and proceed to reception.

Me:  Thanks Cindy!

Disembodied Voice:  You’re welcome Kathy.  Have a pleasant day!

Me:  You too Cindy!

This is probably a bit too American for my Dutch environment but I confess sometimes I miss this sort of over-the-top enthusiasm for customers.  It is after all better than the apathy I experience all too often. 

As I write this, I’m thinking that perhaps I have discovered an under-served market for our customer experience training:  the league of Disembodied Voices who I can inspire to deliver the right parking gate customer experience.  Wow, sometimes I get the best ideas when I’m the most tired at the end of a long week.

Check the website at www.earlybridge.com for more info on this latest workshop.  If you have teams of Disembodied Voices who need to learn to be more customer-focused, we also have an inhouse alternative available.  I can’t wait to make a difference in the world!

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