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Fly the Disconnected Skies…

For better or worse, much of my life these days is spent online

New Media Journal on Ulitzer
For better or worse, much of my life these days is spent online.

Don’t misunderstand – I’m not complaining! In fact, I like it this way. The opportunity to reconnect with long-lost friends on Facebook, to keep updated on ideas and insights via Twitter, to share my thoughts and opinions on this blog – I think it’s great!

Naturally…as with anything…something you enjoy can become detrimental if it is overdone. Research indicates you can enjoy a glass or two of wine in the evening, and it’s good for your heart – but, if you start consuming much more on a daily basis, you’ll ruin your health. Being online can open up new vistas of knowledge and information — however, spend all of your life there, and you blow up your personal relationships.

With that caution understood, imagine when I somewhat suddenly discovered myself getting tons of work done on airplanes for a very simple reason: I was flying Delta most of the time, and they have Wi-Fi access on most of their flights.

I could now stay in touch during the flight, get e-mail done, even SMS text via Google with folks in my office and home on a real-time basis, and land with my tasks completed…totally ready to spend time with loved ones or colleagues.

It never occurred to me something that I would have previously imagined as irrelevant – an Internet connection during a flight – would end up becoming significant.

(And, by the way, HUGE kudos to Go-Go…the company pioneering airplane Wi-Fi! Both the speed and reliability have been remarkable! I highly recommend you try it out on your next flight.)

As I write this, I’m on a four-hour-plus flight from O’Hare to San Diego on United. There is no Wi-Fi available…and, I miss it.

On future trips, the simple fact that flying Delta instead would have made my total time in the air – six hours including my originating flight – so much more productive is the tipping point regarding where my future business will go.

Could you take a four-hour-plus lunch break in the middle of the day with no contact with your office during your busy season? No? Well, I don’t believe it’s best for me, either. Yet, that’s almost exactly what this flight is – compared to a Delta flight offering connectivity.

I’ve noticed United put leather on the seats, making them more comfortable and stylish. Thanks. And, isn’t that the old way of doing it in the airline business?

We want to improve our standing in the marketplace…so, hey! Let’s upgrade our plane’s interiors. Why don’t we do exactly what we did a few years back when we went to cloth seats, only this time we’ll make it leather!

However, it seems to me United also should have been just as concerned about those business passengers – the most profitable segment of their customer base – occupying those leather seats, and their ever-changing needs in this ever-hasty world.

In other words, if you’re in the airline business, you re-fit the plane. If you’re in the passenger transportation business, you ask what would make the trip more productive and enjoyable for the people inside the plane!

One more mini-rant! Could United’s pre-flight instructional video be any more boring? A few days ago, I mentioned the cool program Delta has with the real-life flight attendant now nicknamed in the press as “Deltalina.” (Some believes she looks a bit like Angelina Jolie – so the name is a combination of her name…and Delta’s.)

United, on the other hand, must believe that if they can put us all to sleep before the flight lifts off, we will be easier for the flight attendants to manage.

What does this mean to your business? Many points – however, let’s concentrate on this one: To create Ultimate Customer Experiences, you must be creating what your clients desire. You may assume they want better leather seats…what they REALLY want could be the ability to work more productively online.

What are some of the assumptions YOU have constructed regarding what YOUR customer base craves?

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More Stories By Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.

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