Last week an acquaintance of mine was trying to fly from New York City to Houston. Unfortunately, New York had heavy snows and his flight was canceled. Of course, that’s unavoidable when the weather is bad. My friend understood that. However, the way his airline handled the situation was harder for him to stomach.
First, the airline canceled his flight and then rebooked him without notifying him; typically passengers receive an email or phone call about any major flight change. The new flight gave him very little time to make his connection, so my friend tried to call the airline and speak to a customer service representative to get more information about available flights.
Shockingly, the airline’s phone number simply gave him a busy signal—no message or option to hold. He wound up having to call over and over again for several hours.
Determined to speak to someone, my friend also tried the airline’s web customer service option. He finally found the contact information buried under an inappropriate section on the airline’s website. When he started online chatting with the customer service rep, the rep told him his flight had been canceled. They chatted for several minutes, at which point the rep said, “Oh, I meant the flight had not been canceled.” He then told my frustrated friend he could not help and that he should keep calling the (busy) number.
Needless to say, my friend won’t be flying with that airline ever again—and nor will the countless friends who heard about the bad experience. (For the record, it was Delta.)
This story illustrates how bad customer service can really hurt a company. My friend understood that he would have flight delays or cancelations because of the bad weather. But not having the option to speak to someone—or even leave a message—and not getting notifications about his flights made the situation so much worse.
Is your company’s customer service up to par? Are you available to your customers or clients, either by having a call waiting or voicemail function that is constantly checked? Are the people who answer the phones in your office well-informed and trained to handle complaints? If not, you could be hurting your image and frustrating valuable clients!