I got a great piece of feedback from a guest today. She told me the driving and parking directions we provide are confusing. The reason? The directions say, “Turn right on Marconi Blvd. Proceed to the railroad tracks. The parking garage will be on your right.”
Our directions are correct, you do proceed to the railroad tracks. The problem is that they’re invisible.
Our guests can’t see the railroad tracks because the City of Columbus has done a bang-up job of landscaping the area that used to be a railroad crossing. In fact, when we wrote up our driving directions a few years ago, there was still a railroad crossing gate in place, even though they had closed the crossing to car traffic. At that time, the railroad gates made it pretty clear there was a railroad there. Well, the gates are long gone.
Ok, the real problem is that I still know the tracks are there, but my customer doesn’t. How could she? For many of our guests, it’s their first trip down this stretch of Marconi Blvd. Heck, I think even some of our staff might not know the tracks are hiding there, and they drive by the every day.
The only way you’d know the tracks were there is if you already knew the tracks were there. Or if a big honkin’ train came through at the exact moment you were looking for the railroad tracks.
My familiarity with the street has blinded me to an obvious flaw in our directions. As I write this, I wonder how many of our guests have scratched their heads wondering where those darn tracks are.
One of our jobs as a customer-focused organization is to live as much as possible with our blinders off. To do that, we’ve got to actively look for things like invisible railroad tracks. If we really want to super serve our customers, we have to identify the obstacles they face and work like crazy to remove them.