The Choice is Clear

It’s only occasionally that I’m truly impressed with the level of client service extended to me by an individual. Even more rare is that level of extraordinary service delivered by an entire group of people. But, I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve had consistently excellent service delivered by an entire company nationwide over a five-year period without at least one person eventually spoiling their record.

CLEAR is one of those companies. As a frequent traveler, it made total sense for me to pay the $200 fee to join CLEAR’s membership program which performs fingerprint and retinal scans as well as background checks on travelers. Once you’re “CLEAR”, they speed you through TSA and zip you right up to the front of the security line, saving hours of time and toe-tapping frustration through airports like Atlanta, New York, Dallas, and LAX.

I’ve mentally noted before how truly friendly, welcoming, connected, and efficient the CLEAR team is but last week while catching a flight home out of San Jose, CA, I realized that this had always been my experience with CLEAR… every time, every city, every person… for five years. No exceptions.

How do they do it? They are pulling from the same pool of applicants and workers as you and I. Just like us, they are a growing company with hundreds, if not thousands of clients. They rely heavily on technology which has got to be just as glitchy as ours. So, what’s their secret to this high level of client experience and more importantly to the consistency of its delivery across all fronts and over such a long period of time?

I had to know. So, I called them. Their phone team was as friendly and efficient as their ground team at the airports. I was quickly handed off to the VP of Training and Development, who shared with me that while this was his official title, his unofficial (and more accurate) title was VP of Exceptionalism. Seriously. He told me that I was not the first person to notice and inquire about how CLEAR is able to deliver this exceptional experience over the long haul.

While he couldn’t reveal all their secrets, he could tell me that these three things made the difference overall:

1) Truth. The cold hard truth of this product is that, given the cost of CLEAR, if travelers don’t have a seamless, stress-less, friendly, and highly efficient experience every single time, they will not renew. It either saves them time every time or they will save the money and simply use TSA pre-check as a very good alternative. There is nothing else that they sell but a seamless, stress-less experience every time. Without delivering that, there is no CLEAR. Employees understand this truth about the company and what CLEAR employees must deliver.

2) Training. Prospective employees are rated on how they initially greet their interviewers on several, separate interviews. Their interviews are even pre-designed with embedded hiccups in the process to evaluate how the applicants react to and manage them. Once hired, they are rigorously trained using video and live scenarios which they self-evaluate with a trainer. They also shadow and are shadowed by other team members who have already gained the highest overall customer ratings.

3) Evaluation. Frontline team members’ jobs depend upon the reviews and comments of subscribers as well as the scores of the secret shoppers sent through the frontlines to check their delivery. CLEAR needs happy, delighted customers and those results are King. They are bottom-line requirements of the job. No excuses.

Has your team signed on for the truth of what your business must deliver consistently to stay strong and competitive? Do you have built-in protocols and testing mechanisms to determine the right applicants for your team? When was the last time you shadowed your team members or recorded client interactions and reviewed them together with coaching? Have you considered a method of surveying your clients to discover if your perceived image is the one you intended and that the client experience you think you’re delivering is actually the one they have… every time?

You don’t have to go it alone on this journey. The team at LionSpeak is standing by, ready and willing to help your leaders and team managers learn how to create a culture of truth, training, and evaluation. It’s as easy as developing simple on-boarding, initial training, and on-going coaching frameworks.

All you need to be a company like CLEAR is to be CLEAR about your commitment to constant improvement.


“Customer experience is the next competitive battleground.
It’s where businesses are won or lost.”

~~Tom Knighton

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