At the counter, I pushed my two cards across, looked at the agent, and said, “Look, you’re the last hurdle before I get to my destination. Can we cut the chit-chat and just get this done?”

I was finally at the rental car desk after a delayed flight, and all I wanted was quick and efficient service. I wanted someone to say, “How can I help you?” and get busy.

I’m a frequent traveler, which means I know the process. So, no, I don’t want the insurance or the transponder for the toll highways. I want to sign and go.

It’s why I like to rent from Hertz. When you’re a gold member, you walk out, get in the car for you and show your driver’s license at the gate. That’s it. So simple.

Have you looked at the last mile of your customer journey? Have you looked at it through the customer’s eyes? Do you know what the customer thinks and feels at the journey’s end? Your customer reviews and referrals depend on the last ten percent of the experience. How would you rate yours?

We almost didn’t advertise on a radio station because they made the payment process ridiculous. We gave them the credit card information and signed the authorization form. Why did they have some extra web thing that didn’t work that they insisted did? Only after threatening to leave did that step become unnecessary. Are your customers experiencing something similar when it comes time to pay? Or have you made it easy to take their money?

You have spent all this money on advertising and marketing to get them to call your business. You record and audit the call center for performance. You train your people to deliver the best service that you can provide. But have you optimized the end of the journey?

Does the journey’s end leave the customer happy, satisfied, and content? Or frustrated because something that should be easy became suddenly challenging, or more work for them?

Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the people that I encounter last after a long day of traveling because traveling today doesn’t leave anybody in a good mood. But I want their boss and scriptwriter to recognize the situation for what it is. So, when I walk up to the valet at my home airport, I want to hear, “Welcome, back. Let me help you get into your car as quickly as possible. Do you have your tag, and which credit card are you using today?” Then, “Thank you, sir. I’ve applied the credit card discount. You’re all paid. Your bar code is ready to be scanned on your way out. Here are your keys. Your car is B36 out the doors to your left in the second row. Have a safe and uneventful drive home.”

I’ll keep dreaming and hoping that they will figure out where they are in the chain of events for the traveler and become more tuned into their customer’s journey. I wish you the best of luck optimizing your customer’s journey.