Last week I traveled to Portland for a customer meeting. The meetings were productive and I was leaving with a strong sense of collaboration and excitement from our customer. Portland is known for it’s great public transit system, TriMet, which means that most people don’t even use a car when visiting. When it was time to go, they urged me to take advantage of the city’s oft touted MAX light rail train to the airport. I was waiting for a Red Line train, but, as luck would have it, the Red Line was delayed due to an accident.


Bystanders advised that I take a Blue Line train to Gateway at which point I could transfer to the Red Line that would take me to the airport. Other riders along the way were extremely kind, offering advice and insisting that I wait for the train, that it would indeed show up, not to worry. I was struck by the friendliness of the Portlandians I encountered and how, subsequently, there seemed to be a strong sense of community amongst them. Once I got to the Gateway stop, the Red Line was still delayed, and I started to worry that I would may not make it, on MAX anyhow, to my flight.

Eventually I met a MAX employee and after inquiring about whether the line might be out of service, he informed me that Blue Line trains come through that area on the same tracks, and after contacting headquarters, he discovered that MAX was in the process of routing a Blue Line train to turn itself into a Red Line. A simple fix — the other riders and I were relieved. And within 20 minutes, I was on my way to the airport.

MAX’s ability to act with such efficiency has been one of the best customer-service experiences I’ve had in quite some time. On my ride, I got to thinking about how the incident felt unique in an age where we seem to be overwhelmed with convoluted infrastructure. It feels like we wait for ages sometimes to get assistance from someone with enough ownership of their job to actually give us the help or information we need. But the MAX agent who helped me was able to communicate with his team easily and discover how the issue was being resolved. All of the hype about Portland being a progressive, efficient city, which I definitely felt, was merited in my experience taking the Metro.

Clearly this is the goal we all have — all of us who are in the business of customer engagement. We hope that if any of our customers has an issue with our product or service, that it will be resolved with personalized attention. We want to exceed our customer’s’ expectations. That is our goal at West Coast Consulting Group — to help our clients find the right technology to align them with their customers, to spur innovation and growth. We want to increase efficiency and opportunities that create quality, individualized service on every level.

Let West Coast Consulting Group help you identify how you can improve interactions with your customers. Contact us at

By Benafsha Irani, Managing Partner, West Coast Consulting Group

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