What are you overlooking?

Boardingpass Everyone is scrambling to find the next new thing in marketing.  How do we break through the clutter?  What high tech wonder can we harness to get our customer’s attention?  How can I be one step ahead of the competition?

Recently, I was reminded that sometimes we just have to look at things a little differently to find the answer.  No new medium, no new gadget — just seeing something that was in front of us all along.

I know it won’t surprise you to learn that I was getting on a plane recently.  I had changed my flight so I was in the last group of people to be called to board the plane.  The line was moving right along and for some reason I noticed that people were actually looking at the gate agent.  They were having a brief exchange of some kind.  People were smiling.  "How weird is that," I thought.

As I got closer, I could hear the gate agent.  As he scanned each person’s boarding pass, he was greeting them by name.  He varied the greeting…"welcome aboard, how are you doing, good to see you, thanks for flying with us"….but he ended them all with the person’s name.

Here’s a guy who was creating instant customer impressions.  No marketing budget.  No memo.  No meetings.  He just realized that everyone’s name was printed on the boarding pass and he could use that fact to create a "talk about" moment.

Sure, he called me Andrew instead of Drew (I just assumed I was in trouble!) so it wasn’t a perfect execution.  And I’m sure he knew that every once in awhile he was going to mispronounce a name.  But he forged ahead anyway.  And it was absolutely noteworthy.

Our names have been on boarding passes for years.  This is the first time I have ever had a gate agent call me by name as I passed by.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing to be a remarkable thing.   Think of the thousands of gate agents who could have done the same thing, but it never occurred to them.

What have you overlooked?