The Focus on the Surface

WaterDropHandIt’s easy to pay attention to what’s on the surface. A survey from an airline that asks lots of questions about how you were greeted, but none about whether you got what you needed (where you needed to go when you needed to go there, comfortably, and with minimal hassle) is a mistake. It appears to be working to fulfill requests we either don’t make or that aren’t a priority. Sure, a nice person who makes it personal is a detail that can help a good experience be a little better. But do the airlines really think the overall experience is perceived to be good enough that these nuances make a big difference to anyone?

Doubtful, unless they are disconnected from the day to day customer experience of flying.

So, it’s selling. They are asking questions designed to help the user recognize that they tried, they did what they could, and the experience didn’t totally suck. Not a bad idea, but it can backfire when customers think you’re not focused on all the right things.

Perhaps part of their blindness stems from the fact that we’re not very adept interpersonally. We interact with each other in the same manner every day. Lots of idle talk about what’s going on at the surface, but not much in depth conversation about the thoughts, feelings, beliefs in our lives that really warrant some exploration and are actually interesting.

Someone has to dare to reveal his fragility. To be vulnerable. Intimate. Those that want in will walk through the opening glad to get to the real stuff, and eager to be supportive. And then you have a real friend and partner in life. Those that don’t will shy away. They might think you are weird. Whatever. That’s part of the willingness to be vulnerable. If that’s the worst that can happen it’s not so terrible. You can probably continue to interface on a surface level if you want. The upsides of trying are far greater than the downsides.

But the fear…it stops us from doing so much. The airline would rather give you something to be content with than face the overarching angst. Surely we can do better?

5 Responses to “The Focus on the Surface”

  1. 1 Christopher Ehren March 7, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Good Christ! You mean the peanuts are collaborators?

    Christopher E.


  1. 1 4 Parameters for Communication | Just a job to do Trackback on March 29, 2014 at 11:21 am
  2. 2 Asking the Wrong Questions | Just a job to do Trackback on March 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm
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