Retail Customer Experience: An Amazing Customer Experience From TSA?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiates the shopping experience.
Last month, I was in line for security at Logan Airport. I noticed there was only one agent checking IDs, so I figured this was going to be a long and painful process. Much to my surprise, the line not only went quickly, but you could hear laughter.
The lone TSA agent was fast, engaging and funny, and he personalized every interaction.
He had to work two lines at once, but he always told the other line what he was doing. And every time he checked an ID, he built a quick connection with the passenger. Here are some of these things I heard him to say to passengers in front of me:
"You’re heading home to 75 degree weather? I bet you’re sad about that." That made the college student laugh.
"Thank you for your service, ma’am." The passenger must have used a military ID.
"I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better picture on a drivers license." Said to a smiling elderly woman.
"Only a few weeks until pitchers and catchers." He said this to me since I was wearing a Red Sox hat.
I was in awe. People standing in line to go through security are not always in the best of moods and this TSA agent was wowing everyone with an amazing experience.
Here are five things I took away from this experience.
- Hire outgoing people. Most TSA agents look miserable. You could tell this man truly loved working with the public. Don’t hire people who need a job. Hire the right people who want to do the job.
- Personalization happens in the details. This TSA agent didn’t use the same line over and over. He discovered something unique about every individual and used that information to make the "customer" feel special.
- You can work fast and efficiently, and still be engaging. That is a big one. A lot of people think a great experience takes time. This agent was able to wow people in seconds. You could see that was his goal.
- People like to feel special and appreciated. You could see in their body language and facial expressions how well passengers responded to this TSA agent’s comments and demeanor. I think we sometimes underestimate the importance of making customers feel special.
- We win and lose one employee and one customer at a time. Later that same day, I saw an airline employee handle a customer situation very poorly. It was as bad an experience as the TSA agent’s was good. Too bad for the airline and the customer that the TSA agent was on the other side of security.
What retail lessons can be learned from the TSA experience detailed in the article? Which of the five takeaways mentioned in the article should stores be particularly mindful of?