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The Mile Wide Gap Between The Message And The Customer Experience

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The mile wide gap between the message and the customer experience

A word from a pal in the airline industry: “Don’t fly now if you can possibly avoid it. It is a total mess. Staff are working the absolute maximum hours legally allowed and I suspect in some cases more than that. They are exhausted. I’d suggest take a train instead, but there aren’t enough of them either.”

None of that surprises you. You have your wits about you. Friends have given their own tales of woe; the hours stuck at airports. The cancelled flights.

Quite why the travel industry didn’t foresee that this many of us would want to use their services over the summer is a mystery.

But let’s leave that to one side.

And take ourselves to Heathrow’s trading update from yesterday, headlined: “Strong performance over Jubilee holiday shows regulator the value of focus on passenger service.”

CEO John Holland-Kaye, in between having a go at the regulator, brags that customers can “travel through Heathrow this summer with confidence”…”90% of customers were through security in less than 10 minutes”…he is “immensely proud” of his team.

Over at easyJet they are facing “summer 2022 with optimism”. CEO Johan Lundgren says: “We have transformed the airline during the pandemic which has enabled us to emerge with renewed strength, underpinned by a product, network and service that customers really value.”

It isn’t that what they are saying here is necessarily untrue.

It is just that the corporate messaging is at complete odds with the present customer experience and indeed everything on the news.

Challenged on this, the flak trade tends to try to differentiate between messages intended for the City and those for the public.

As if the public weren’t perfectly capable of reading a stock market statement and finding it annoying.

In other, private conversations, the travel bosses must know and acknowledge that what they are dealing with is chaos, even if not of their own making.

To those of us stuck in hackland, on the tarmac, why they would think now is a good time to say “look how great we are” is a curiosity to say the least.

Press release of the day

What are the most expensive train stations for car parking? Confused.com has the answers here. The top six are all in London, not surprisingly, with London Bridge top at £35 for a day.

These bills have got to be an incentive to work from home for many people.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Has famed stock picker Nick Train lost his touch?

2) What can Boohoo do about its share price?

3) Is the shortage of second-hand cars helping bike sales at Halfords?

4) Should the Bank move rates up faster to protect the pound?

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