Was I going to catch the bus on time?

I panicked a little bit.

Read: The curiosity made me take part in Black Friday [Black Friday – Part 1]

My hotel, Element by Westin, was right next to the Port Authority in Times Square, and I planned to catch the 10 a.m. bus, which is pretty chill. I would take my time getting ready in the morning and have a good breakfast.

In case you were wondering, no, I wasn’t really willing to take the 6 a.m. bus.

Not that crazy, not that crazy yet at least.

The lift at my hotel was incredibly slow though. It took me over 15 minutes just waiting for the lift to go down, and I was on the 16th floor. Now that I am thinking about it, I should have taken the stairs.

According to the Groupon voucher, the bus either leaves at 10 a.m or 11:15 a.m., so in my mind, if I have missed the 10 a.m. bus, then I am kind of screwed and have to wait for another hour and 15 minutes, but hey as Hal Elrod, the author of the Miracle Morning, says, “If you can’t change it, then let it go.” I couldn’t change the lift situation.

It was 9:53 a.m.

Tick tock tick tock. The clock was ticking.

I rushed to the Port Authority, and I met a very nice guy at the information desk. I asked him where can I find this “North Building — 1st Floor, South Wing, Booths 11–15” to catch the bus to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. He told me to go straight and then you will find them right on the left.

I sprinted straight and looked left. Where is Booth 11–15? I can’t find it.

I found the customer service desk. There was a lady who was complaining about her bus that wouldn’t leave for another hour.

It is 9:57 a.m.

I am going to miss the bus. That’s it.

The customer service agent was finally free and so I showed her my ticket. She pointed with her finger to the direction on the left. “Just go there”, she said. “This is where I came from, I don’t see this Booth11–15, can you please help me? I don’t want to miss the bus,” I tell her. She looks at me as if I am stupid, and tells me, “It’s right there.”

I couldn’t see it.

I went “there”. There were booths, but none of them were actually labeled as Booths 11–15. In fact, there were no signs whatsoever in the whole Port Authority guiding me to where I should go.

I stood in line in one of the Booths 11–15.

It was 9:59 a.m.

I knew it. I will miss the bus, and thought, “Well, I can’t change it,” so I start visualizing the coffee I would be having at Starbucks while waiting for the 11:15 a.m. bus.

A nice man came to me with a wireless ticketing machine, and he asked me “Do you have the Groupon ticket?” I replied, “Yes”. He told me I didn’t have to wait in the queue and printed my ticket right on spot.

He then told me, “Go to the 4th floor and go to gate 410”. I said, “Ok”. He explained, “Take two escalators up and you will find it”.

How hard that could be? Right?

But it’s already 10:00 a.m.

The anticipation was killing me. Will I be able to catch the bus?

I rushed to the first escalator, and then I stood still. “Hold on? Where is the second escalator?” I thought. I stumbled and froze for a moment. I asked a random passenger if he knew where the second escalator was. He looked at me as if I am a creep and said, “No”. I had a look around and found the second escalator, “Here you are,” I thought to myself.

I climbed the escalator stairs and I found at least three long queues. I knew I didn’t miss the bus. I was relieved.

The funny thing is there was no bus at gate 410. There was one in gate 409, which I took. Still, no bus in gate 410. I was worried that I would be taking the wrong bus.

I asked, “Is this bus going to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets?” The guy who was checking the tickets confirmed, “Yes”.

“Perfect I am in the right spot,” I thought to myself.

The bus left at 10:00 a.m.

What really went wrong?

My customer experience from the moment I entered the Port Authority in Times Square and all the way to reaching my bus was broken at every single step.

Let me recap:

  1. I didn’t know where was this North Building — 1st Floor, South Wing that was mentioned in the ticket.
  2. I didn’t know where are Booths 11–15.
  3. I didn’t know there was an expressway to issue my ticket if I had purchased it through Groupon.
  4. I didn’t know where was the second escalator.
  5. I didn’t know that I could take the bus from gate 409 to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, or two other gates, and note actually 410.

And how it could be fixed?

My experience was broken and there was one simple solution to all of this confusion.

Just put signs — that simple.

  1. Sign for North Building — 1st Floor, South Wing.
  2. Sign for Booths 10 -15.
  3. Sign for express ticket printing if you purchased your ticket from Groupon.
  4. Sign for the second escalator.
  5. Sign that you can take the bus to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets for any of the gate numbers including 409.

Good customer experience is what will increase customer loyalty and decrease churn rate.

But hey if your customers don’t have any other choice than one, then yes, well, the customers would still be annoyed, and go through the broken journey anyway. Then again, why make their lives hard, when we can make them happy?

To be continued…

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