Once you become familiar with "Systems Thinking" it is very hard not to look at each situation from an end-to-end perspective.
A few years back I sent the following letter & high level flow to the airline I used 90% of the time for my business trips. I choose not to mention this airline because I believe it applies to each major airline. Some don’t even offer a meal any longer, but the principle applies to any industry.
Many companies look through their own eyes and not through their customers when setting expectations or requirements. Companies must become the "Thing" or become the "Customer" when setting expectations.
Let me explain my reasoning through an actual event. I had an early morning flight (7:10 AM) that was a 2-hour flight and there would be no meal served, only the usual coffee, tea, pretzels, etc. I found this unacceptable and inquired as to why a breakfast would not be served. The answer was it’s only a 2-hour flight.
Is it? Maybe by your calculations but not mine (customer).
You see my process started at 4:30 AM. My time is 5 hours and 15 minutes. Broken down as follows:
- 45 minutes travel to airport (15 minute parking)
- 1 hour arrival before flight (airline request)
- 2 hour flight time (if on schedule - HA)
- 30 minute baggage claim (subtract if carry-on)
- 30 minute rental car (add time if reservation lost)
- 30 minute travel to office (add time if first time to office)
In other words see the whole picture and use all your senses (feel, hear, see, touch, smell, common) to determine what your customer sees and wants. The airline only saw the flight time as their process, not the whole (e.g., system) customer experience when traveling.
HINT: If you can find a McDonald’s order a Happy Meal and carry on the plane (but be sure to add in the extra time)!