Trips and Tech: Does Being too Connected Remove the Nostalgia or Improve the Experience?

The winter holidays are always my favorite time of year. It allows me time to step away from the office, spend time with family, enjoy my favorite winter sports, and most importantly, celebrate my wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve.

This year my wife and I decided to hit the road at the end of December to explore the Laurentian Mountains northwest of Montreal, Canada. Leaving from Boston, we were in for a 7-hour drive. As we started planning our route, I made a list and checked it twice. Directions came from my car’s navigation system, music was handled by my car’s satellite radio, the Weather Channel app kept us updated on current weather conditions, Yelp helped us find places to stop and eat, and the almighty Google was the go-to for anything else we needed.

3 hours in, we reminisced about the trips we used to take with our families when we were kids. While we were recollecting on the past, I began to think to myself that this trip was nothing close to the ones we used to take when we were younger.  Back then, GPS was non-existent and guessing games and songs occupied our time instead of YouTube.  Don’t get me wrong, our trip was nostalgic from a sights and scenery perspective, but technology has dramatically changed – and improved the experience of getting there.

This got me thinking; with the abundance of information readily available, how much of it is being used by companies to improve customer experience?

For example, if my car is collecting data on my whereabouts, wouldn’t it be great to know where the nearest garage is in case my car broke down? I could easily google that information myself, but having it “pushed” to me from my car’s screen would be even more convenient.  Similarly, what if my phone carrier notified me know when I am approaching an area with limited or no service? As a customer, that would score points from a loyalty perspective.

The fact is, the information is there and it is simply a matter of harnessing that data in a way that is focused around customer behavior and their individual journeys. Companies that stay ahead of the customer experience curve will not only retain their customers, but also acquire new ones.

Follow Rob Guarino on Twitter: @RobGuarino_XT