An iPad and Mickey Mouse

This month, my wife Mary and I took our two kids, Ethan (eight) and Lauren (six), to experience all that Disney and Universal Studios have to offer in Orlando, Florida. This was our fourth family vacation to the Sunshine State, so at this point, between our other trips and my wife’s research, we are pros at running the Disney gauntlet.

However, the one area that always seemed to be stressful was the arrival at the Orlando airport and subsequent transportation to the resort. After a flight with kids, the last thing we want to do is spend time in lines waiting for taxis, shuttles or rental cars. So this time I decided to prearrange a car via Town Car Now. Since there were four of us, the cost wasn’t much more than a shuttle or taxi, and the promise of having a car waiting upon our arrival sounded like just what we needed.

A day or so before our departure, I arranged for the car via the company’s website. I received a confirmation email back, instructing me to meet the driver in the baggage claim area. When our flight touched down in Orlando, I turned on my phone and received a text message from Kristin welcoming us to Orlando, and instructing us to meet her by baggage carousel number six. We made our way to that carousel and found her holding up an iPad with our name in lights.

At this point, I was intrigued to see an iPad being used by a driver. That’s not something I’ve seen before. I have seen kids use the iPad in some pretty ingenious ways, but adults who use them seem to always be either tech people or executives, and they are usually doing mundane things like reading, web browsing, sending email, Facebook, Twitter, taking notes and sometimes playing Angry Birds.

While we waited for our luggage to make its way to the carousel, she was back on her iPad informing dispatch that she had met her passengers. We then gathered up our luggage and made our way to the waiting car. We hopped in and she plugged her iPad into the radio and proceeded to ask the kids what type of music they liked. She used the SlackerRadio app to create a custom channel for the kids to listen to during the drive. She confirmed, with me, our destination, which she had already entered into the iPad for directions.

As she drove along, directed by her iPad, curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t help but ask her if the iPad belonged to her, or if it was supplied by the company.

“Both,” she replied, with a little grin.

“Actually, I own the company,” she finally admitted.

I then asked her if any of the other drivers used iPads.

“I have outfitted about half of my drivers with iPads and plan to have all of them using them soon.”

She then told me all of the additional ways she uses the iPad. She has a lot of downtime at the airport waiting for passengers, so she uses the iPad to keep up with her email. She gets a lot of requests like mine that come in via the website, and she can respond and confirm those requests very quickly, no matter where she is. She uses the iPad to check the flight status of her inbound passengers. She has her schedule and the schedules of all of her other drivers, so she can manage changes on the go. Of course, there are some nice games to pass the time when she has a long wait for a passenger.

Before I knew it, we were at our hotel and ready to say goodbye to Kristin, but not before she would show me one more way she uses her iPad. She asked if I wanted to pay with cash or credit. I said I would prefer credit, if it wasn’t a problem.

She said, “No problem at all.” She touched the “SquareUp” icon on her iPad, swiped my credit card, and then handed the iPad to me. I selected the tip amount, signed my name with my finger, and then typed in my email address to get the receipt emailed to me.

Overall, it couldn’t have been a better experience for my family and me. The iPad really enabled Kristin to go above and beyond in delivering extraordinary customer service.

If your company would like to improve its operations with iPads or other mobile solutions, drop me a line. We are now part of the Apple Consultants Network, and have tools to manage mobile devices, integrate them into your corporate email, and setup secure access to files and applications.

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