Business Trip Yields Even a Lesson for Consumer Goods Companies

July 15, 2011
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As a recently new member of the Teradata Consumer Goods team, I was happy to jump right into things with a trip to our Dallas office the other day. Little did I know the return trip would provide fodder for this, my first post to the Teradata Industry Experts blog.

[Disclosure: I work for Teradata, which sponsors the Smart Data Collective.]

As a recently new member of the Teradata Consumer Goods team, I was happy to jump right into things with a trip to our Dallas office the other day. Little did I know the return trip would provide fodder for this, my first post to the Teradata Industry Experts blog.

[Disclosure: I work for Teradata, which sponsors the Smart Data Collective.]

Coming immediately from a background in mobile channel marketing, I was excited to use my airline carrier’s mobile application to check in before I got to DFW for my trip home. Not only could I check in on my phone, I was provided a digital boarding pass, replete with what appeared to be a scannable bar code with instructions to show my screen to both the TSA at security as well the gate agent. Joined in travel this day by my more analog colleagues Bob Noe and Diana Eagen, I felt confident demonstrating my mobile savvy and how convenient travel has become with the advent of these sorts of smartphone applications.

So it was with a bit dismay that upon presenting my phone to the TSA I was turned away and instructed to see a ticket agent. Apparently, while my screen showed the correct departure date, when scanning the code on my phone the TSA’s reader displayed the day after next as the date from my return trip – the data was out of synch for some reason. Fortunately, I was nearby self-service check in kiosks, printed a boarding pass with the correct date and headed to the gate with my colleagues – albeit a bit less smugly than before.

My point in telling this tale is that I’m not certain I would use this approach in the future, especially in airports with long wait lines. On this day I was fortunate, but another time, maybe less so. That’s unfortunate, but imagine the greater consequence had I missed my flight, were an influential user of Twitter or Facebook and posted my experience. The last thing any businesses needs is a negative, viral message spreading, and ultimately impacting sales.

While a help line was offered within the mobile application, I didn’t bother to call it. Had I instead been presented with incentive to share my issue (like offered a number of frequent flier miles in trade), I might have reached out. It’s the small things that count sometimes in heading off problems and transforming them into relationship building opportunities. Consistent data, it seems, is at the heart of making this happen, no matter the industry. Consumer goods brands would be wise to keep in this example in mind as well with their marketing and relationship building efforts.

Gib Bassett