Forrester recently published a report titled, “Trends 2016: The Future of Customer Service.” The first sentence states, “In the age of the customer, executives don’t decide how customer-centric their companies are – customers do.” Some of the key takeaways from their research include:
- Customer service in 2016 demands customer obsession.
- Customer service must be easy, be effective and instill positive emotion.
Expanding on the second point, Forrester states good service should “capture the fundamentals of a great experience: ease, effectiveness and emotion. For many companies, this level of service is a cornerstone of their customer experience strategy.” While future posts will showcase changes we’ve made in our customer experience strategy to drive great experiences for our customers, today’s post is a shout-out to one of our business partners.
In an age of self-service travel options, IWCO Direct works with a Minneapolis-based team from Acendas, a corporate travel management company. It’s no exaggeration to say at least one member of the IWCO Direct team is on a plane on any given day to destinations around the country and around the world. We work with Acendas because of their commitment to making strategic recommendations that combine thought leadership with cost reduction technologies, intelligent data analysis and traveler health and safety policies to ensure a strong, well-managed program.
The team that services IWCO Direct delivers on that commitment and then goes on to exceed our expectations. Anyone who works with IWCO Direct knows that our expectations are high to begin with, so exceeding them is a challenge.
Last month, members of the IWCO Direct team met to celebrate the achievements of 2015 and focus on our strategies for growth and opportunities in 2016. Acendas was our meeting planner. Their team of Hank, Andy, and Mandi had the unenviable task of creating a plan for more than 65 people, who were traveling from more than 20 locations, to arrive in the same place at roughly the same time for a series of meetings and events with little to no wiggle room on start and end times. Those who know some of the attendees on our itineraries are probably saying, “herding cats.”
As mentioned earlier, our expectations were high for the events planned for this meeting and Acendas met those expectations flawlessly. It was how they handled the unplanned events that I want to showcase. In unrelated incidents, two members of our team found themselves in the local emergency room, 1,500 and 3,000 miles from home respectively. They arrived at the ER at different times, but because their issues were non-life-threatening (which was a good thing, of course), both spent 12 hours of our last meeting day waiting to be seen, evaluated and treated.
Upon hearing the hospital’s cafeteria closed at 7 p.m. – and that our ailing team members (plus one that stayed back to help) would be choosing between Cheetos, Fritos and pretzels for dinner – Team Acendas sprang into action. They arranged for “real” food to be delivered to the hospital and a driver to pick up one of our patients while another care-giver was dropped off. This brought new meaning to Acendas’s commitment to the health, safety and comfort of their clients. They exceeded our very high expectations because they provided an easy, effective solution that delivered an extremely positive emotional response when it was needed most.
We all need role models. Acendas showed us how to deliver a great customer experience when it mattered most. We salute them, thank them, and look forward to showing you how IWCO Direct does that, too.
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