Archives for posts with tag: Car

The lyrics from the Gary Numan song ‘Cars’ start as follows:

Here in my car
I feel safest of all
I can lock all my doors
It’s the only way to live
In cars

There is something cocoon-like when you get into your car. When I return to it, after a business meeting or a trip somewhere, and get in, I feel like I’m home already. All I have to do now is drive. From your home – or office – to my home, via my mobile home.

For the road warriors, typically territory-based salespeople, the car really is the home office. We spend a lot of time in it, and we can use the time for calls, texts and emails, all hands free these days. If you love driving, and you’re a rep or a trucker, you can’t beat the seclusion of your the space that you control. It’s a luxury I never take for granted.

When I was getting a lift with a colleague from the New York office of an employer back to the airport a good few years ago, we were picked up by a guy in a Lincoln Town Car. We had to sit in the back because he literally had an office in the front passenger seat, complete with monitor, slide-out keyboard and so on, which he proceeded to use during several static moment as we crawled through Manhattan traffic. I was envious. It looked so comfortable. He was his own boss and everything he needed to do his job, in terms of the service he delivered and the supporting admin, was in the car.

After 35 years of driving, and as a passenger, I still enjoy the cocoon of the car. It’s the office, the window on the world, the insulation against the outside, and the place where road trip memories are made.

As a purely incidental footnote, I once saw Gary Numan and his band at a festival a few years ago, fully 30 years after his electro-pop heyday. The whole set was a rock concert, not at all what I was expecting. He was sensational, a word I try not to use unnecessarily.

I had occasion, dear reader, to go to France and Italy a few weekends ago. It was a bit of a road trip – with some planes and trains thrown in for good measure – and one of the earlier legs was the Eurotunnel from Folkstone to Calais. I’ve been on the Eurostar from London to Paris, but never the car-train thingy.

I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t booked the tickets as it was a surprise held in my dubious honour, so I hadn’t gone onto the website to see what it was all about. I was going in cold, which is always interesting from a marketeer’s perspective. It is always incredibly valuable to experience the customer journey through your product or service for the first time, because once you’ve got your feet under the table and you know where to look, what to do and what to expect, you can’t help first-time visitors navigate big idea any more.

I was expecting something like a cross between the car ferry and the Eurostar. Drive on, dump the car, chill for a couple hours, drive off. So, imagine my surprise when we drove onto a ‘carriage’ that houses about 3 or 4 cars and sat there. You can either sit in your car and feel mildly seasick as the train speeds through the tunnel, or you can get out of your car and walk up and down the side. There’s an emergency loo, but no cafeteria, no entertainment, no view, nothing.

I examined the inside of the carriage. There were lots of emergency notices and information about what you can’t do. What I didn’t know was that the journey is only 35 minutes long and there’s not much you can do.

One thing that struck me was that there was nothing to manage expectations for the first time traveller. You have to find stuff out for yourself, when it’s too late.

How hard would it be to produce a 3-minute video that runs in the terminal and the carriages to give you more information on the customer experience? It would put you at ease, enhance the experience and make you spend more money in the terminal, knowing that you would be without food and drink for the best part of an hour.

I’m not saying Le Shuttle is Le Shittle, far from it. It’s a massive investment and a huge time and money saver. It’s no nonsense, not quite ‘quick and dirty’ but certainly at the functional end of travel. What I am saying is that they need to work on the customer experience. And, when they do, everybody wins.