Yesterday I flew to New Orleans to attend SHRM’s 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition. Professionally I am an editor. But when I am not working, and sometimes when I am, I am a consumer. To say that I am a hard sell is an understatement. In fact, 99.9% of the time I do not buy something someone is trying to sell me. However, that does not mean my business cannot be won.
The last time that I was away on a conference, I parked in the only available official airport parking lot. The lot was so far that the planes landing and taking off were like toys. I must have passed three lots before this one that were closed and for whatever unimaginable reason, had no cars in them.
Once we arrived in what I could only imagine was a different county, I had to wait for the shuttle to arrive. It finally did, and I boarded and waited some more. It was not long before another traveler became increasingly anxious about the wait and proclaimed that she had a flight to catch (didn’t we all?). Her increasingly impolite attempts to persuade the bus driver to just leave already were just another feature to the humdrum backdrop of business travel. I gave the airport parking lot money because I didn’t think that I had a better alternative.
We did leave, I did board on time, and everything was fine. Fast forward to around midnight several days later when I had returned. I exited the airport to see my shuttle driving away slowly. I ran up to it and waved my arms in a futile effort. I cannot prove that the driver saw me, but my suspicious nature led me to believe that he had and simply did not care. He drove away. I was about to get angry when another shuttle pulled up. I thought, great, I’ll grab this one.
About two minutes into the trip I noticed that the shuttle was pulling towards a privately-owned lot. I swallowed hard. I was exhausted by this time and I really didn’t want to have to go back to the airport and wait for the shuttle that just drives off leaving people behind. I told the driver about my mistake, and without hesitation, he drove me to the correct lot. Not only did he get a fiver for his troubles (the only cash I had to spare), but he won my business. I parked with them this time and there was no wait and no trouble. I intend to use them every time I fly.
The lesson is obvious. Some consumers are easily bought. But others, the ones who might be your most loyal customers, are not. You should show them that they really matter. This driver went beyond the call of duty without any hesitation or complaint. Does your company do that? Do your workers? It’s something to think about.