Customer Service Lessons from a Traveling Bag

Customer Service Lessons from a Traveling Bag

Recently, I took a trip that reminded me of the importance of providing high quality customer service. Within our firm, we understand that customer service should be a top priority. But, mistakes happen, so what do we do when we have careless mis-cues? Let me share my recent experience with you.

I was traveling by plane and my baggage was lost. This is a common mistake that many others have experienced, and even though it is a regular issue, that makes it no less frustrating since it interferes with your travel plans.

My Bag’s Journey

Upon returning home from a trip, my bag was first marked to arrive in Mobile, Alabama. Unfortunately, the plane was re-routed to Pensacola, Florida and, therefore, my bag was re-tagged to Pensacola. When my plane arrived, my bag was nowhere to be found!

The baggage claim representative tells me they will deliver the bag to my home address. This is a relief since I live two hours from Pensacola, so I give all the necessary information. She gives me a tracking number and with this technology, I’m going to be able to see where my bag is at all times!

Later in the week, I watch the tracking system as my bag leaves the Pensacola airport, drives past my house, goes to Mobile airport, and then waits around the luggage area for one day. Another courier is called the next day to pick up my bag.

Watching my bag’s adventure is both wonderful (peace of mind to know where my bag was), confusing (why did it skip over my home and go to Mobile), and time-consuming.

Customer Service Remedies

Getting my luggage back in my hands, without much delay, is all I really wanted. Instead, I experienced a roller-coaster of emotions and expectations.  It was a good reminder to me that to accomplish excellent customer service, sometimes we need to be willing to double-check, do research, and don’t rely so heavily on technology.

If the baggage agent had been a little more attentive and thought outside the box, my bag would have arrived at my house much faster.  He or she could have and taken the next step to do any of the following:

  1. Double check the delivery information.
  2. Call the phone number listed to confirm delivery to my address.
  3. Have the courier stop at my house and instead of driving to Mobile.

Adding in the personal touch and human element should not be overlooked when it comes to customer service.  The tracking system provided some relief because I always knew where my bag was, but it also caused confusion to watch the unnecessary delays.

Lean Process Improvement Helps

One way businesses can increase customer satisfaction is through reviewing their processes with a Lean Six Sigma consultant.  Using a Lean consultant, a business can analyze reoccurring issues to create a more streamlined process.  In the case of airlines, lost baggage is a reoccurring issue that affects customer satisfaction.  A more efficient delivery system would save the company time and money while also providing customers a better experience.

Technology is an important factor in Lean processes, but in this case, the technology provided could have been enhanced by listening to the voice of the customer.  Lean can be a helpful part of the solution because it helps you identify your weaker points. Knowing this creates an opportunity to improve and do better.

To learn more about Lean, read the story of how hb&k adopted Lean as an internal process.  We believe in it so much that we offer it as a service to YOU.  If you’re interested, please contact Earl Blackmon, our Lean Six Sigma Consultant.


Pat Colquette is the author of this blog.  A previous business owner and current administrative assistant with our firm, Pat has extensive experience in customer satisfaction.