It’s the experience, stupid

rjI’ve just returned from a visit to the Kingdom of Jordan. My purpose for the trip was two-fold:

1.) To help my son, Chris, settle into his dormitory in Amman, where he’ll be studying Arabic and immersing himself in the local culture as he nears the end of achieving his Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies.

2.) To experience the Middle East for the very first time in my life (while sightseeing, inhaling the local cuisine and fitting in two days of mountain climbing, of course).

But, today’s blog isn’t about my amazing trip but, rather the superb experience provided by Royal Jordanian Airlines.

I’ve flown overseas on the national airlines of Singapore, the Netherlands, Russia, Portugal, France and Britain, to name a few.

But, none has surpassed the impeccable service of Royal Jordanian Airlines. I won’t bore you with the particulars, but suffice it to say the flight attendants treated each, and every, one of us as if we were the kings and queens of their country.

The capper for me, though, was this evaluation form they handed out and asked us to complete before they landed. They did so, they said, because their CEO insists on real-time authentic feedback.

Note, if you will, the envelope in which we inserted the evaluation forms. It’s addressed to the president & CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines. The flight attendants told us the forms are delivered immediately to the president/CEO’s desk and, should he discover any comment that describes anything less than a five-star experience, he will write a personal letter of apology and guarantee a discount on any future RJ flights.

Compare, and contrast, that experience with anything you’ve encountered on a U.S. carrier. In my mind, this kind of superior service is another reason we’re continually falling behind other First World countries.

The PR trades, and their countless awards programs and hagiographic profiles of best-in-class Fortune 500 corporations and global agencies, have yet to wake-up to the reality that experience trumps PR each, and every, day of the week.

Audience experience is the REAL PR. What we do is tell the stories of the products, services and charitable works of the organizations we represent.

The best PR firms are the ones who recognize that a brand promise is worth less than a high school diploma if it doesn’t accurately reflect the end user experience.

In fact, I’d argue the previous paragraph should become our industry’s mission statement. Let’s stop with all of the self-congratulatory editorials and awards and focus, instead, on identifying gaps between what organizations promise and the actual end user experience.

By identifying gaps and recommending fixes, we’d find ourselves playing a much more strategic role at the C-Suite level.

As for Royal Jordanian Airlines, their passenger experience IS their PR. Would that our industry practitioners woke up to that reality.




Comments are closed.