The thin line of customer satisfaction – or how to turn good into bad

Sometimes it is surprising how easy it is to turn a good idea into an unsatisfying customer experience.

A few days ago, Bbcause I wanted to be on the safe side I had booked a train with a 2 hour time window after a meeting. Surprisingly the meeting ended on time so I was at the station very early.
I had booked a super-saver ticket which is bound to a specific train, so my first question was whether there is any way to upgrade it or pay for a change of train. This already was a 2 step process, because the Information booth I learned, is only there for Information and my question whether there is an upgrade possibility does not qualify as information and I needed to go to the ticket counter (limited bad customer experience part 1).

There the quick answer was no. There is no way of changing the ticket – I could only wait for the booked train or buy a new ticket (limited bad customer experience part 2). Also not sure why most airlines can offer such a service.

After walking around for 45 min in search for a coffee and a restroom and killing time, I remembered that the Deutsche Bahn (german railway) had started to have lounges in major train stations, which are open for 1st class ticket holders and loyalty card holders. As I normally book first class with super saver I was actually eligible for lounge access.

And indeed they have a decent lounge at the station (big bad customer experience part 3 – because I had to figure it out myself). The good idea of lounges at stations actually turned bad for me.

So had anyone of the people in the process – which we tend to refer to as touchpoints – bothered to ask which kind of ticket I have and that I could wait in the lounge for my train, this could have been an exceptional customer experience. But now it is another example in my long list of how things can easily go wrong with customers.

And the line between bad and excellent is extremely thin in customer experience.

What if people are not incentivized to answer questions and perform their duty, but to improve customer experience?

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